Former San Gabriel Valley Rep. Hilda Solis resigned this week as U.S. Secretary of Labor.

President Barack Obama thanked Solis for her four years of service, calling her “a tireless champion for working families” during her time in Congress and as a California legislator.

“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,” Obama said.

“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.”

Local labor leader Maria Elena Durazo called Solis a friend of the worker.

“From the hotel housekeeper on her hands and knees scrubbing floors, to an ironworker walking a beam forty stories in the air, America’s working men and women had a voice, a friend, and a champion in Labor Secretary Hilda Solis,” said Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO.

“Labor Secretary Solis never lost touch with the fact that she was the daughter of immigrant factory workers, who like generations of immigrants before them, joined the union to help lift themselves from poverty.

Solis, an El Monte Democrat, was elected to Congress in 2000 and re-elected four times.

She was first elected to public office in 1985 as a member of the Rio Hondo Community College Board of Trustees and to the Assembly in 1992. In 1994, she became the first Latina elected to the state Senate, serving in that body for six years until becoming a congresswoman.

Solis earned a bachelor’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona and a master’s degree in public administration from USC. She worked in the White House Office of Hispanic Affairs during the Carter administration, later becoming a management analyst with the Civil Rights Division of the Office of Management and Budget.