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Hilda Solis's First Day at Work

By Ed O'Keefe



Edward Hugler, who served as acting labor secretary until Hilda Solis was sworn in, hands over the keys to the secretary's office Wednesday morning at Labor Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Shawn T. Moore, Dept. of Labor)

Updated 7:56 p.m. ET

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was greeted by hundreds of employees this morning as she showed up for her first day of work at department headquarters. Following her Senate confirmation yesterday afternoon, the former California congresswoman takes the helm of an agency with an annual budget of approximately $53 billion and almost 17,000 employees.

"The challenges facing workers in our country are enormous," Solis wrote in an e-mail to DOL staffers earlier today. "But our capacity to make real and lasting change is even bigger. American workers aren’t just counting on me. They are counting on every single one of you, too." (See the full e-mail after the jump.)

A public swearing-in ceremony is expected in the near future, though nothing has been scheduled yet, according to Solis's office. She was sworn in during a private ceremony Tuesday night.

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From: Secretary Hilda Solis
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 2:18 PM
Subject: Thank You

Dear Department of Labor Colleagues,

I was moved by the extraordinary show of support from so many of you this morning. As I walked up to the Frances Perkins Building, I was overwhelmed by the energy and enthusiasm representing the entire Department of Labor Team. It was an excellent way to start a first day on the job, and I will remember your good wishes for a very long time. Thank you for that.

There is so much for us to do. The challenges facing workers in our country are enormous. But our capacity to make real and lasting change is even bigger. American workers aren’t just counting on me. They are counting on every single one of you, too.

With your help, we will be able to fulfill the commitment I made to President Obama: to be a voice for America’s working families. That voice can be louder, stronger, and have more impact if we work together.

Early in my career, I had the honor to be a federal civil servant. I know that public service is a high calling, and that there is no better way to make a difference. In the coming days, I very much hope to meet many of you here in Washington and across the country. But in the meantime, I want to hear from you. So if you have ideas or suggestions, please email me at [redacted].

Now, let’s get to work . . .

Hilda Solis

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 25, 2009; 3:14 PM ET
Categories:  Administration, Agencies and Departments  
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Next: Eye Opener: Feb. 26, 2009

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