Labor Secretary Hilda Solis resigns

Rachel Rose Hartman

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis resigned Wednesday from her position in the Obama administration.

Solis, a former California congresswoman, has served in her position since her February 2009 confirmation. Her departure marks the latest change for President Barack Obama's Cabinet as he heads into a second term.

Obama released the following statement heralding Solis' career:

Over her long career in public service—as an advocate for environmental justice in California, state legislator, member of Congress and secretary of labor—Hilda Solis has been a tireless champion for working families.

Over the last four years, Secretary Solis has been a critical member of my economic team as we have worked to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and strengthen the economy for the middle class. Her efforts have helped train workers for the jobs of the future, protect workers’ health and safety and put millions of Americans back to work. I am grateful to Secretary Solis for her steadfast commitment and service not only to the administration, but on behalf of the American people. I wish her all the best in her future endeavors.

Solis' departure means one less woman will be in the president's Cabinet at a time when the White House faces criticism for a lack of female staff.

White House press secretary Jay Carney on Wednesday rejected a recent New York Times story highlighting the president's "all-male" inner circle and other reports suggesting gender inequality.

"Women are well represented in senior staff," Carney said at Wednesday's press briefing, noting the female White House counsel, female secretaries of homeland security and health and human services and female Supreme Court appointees. "These stories are in reaction to a couple of appointments" and don't represent the full picture, Carney said.

The White House confirmed on Wednesday that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Attorney General Eric Holder and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki all plan to continue on for a second term.