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Hilda Solis on Education

Democratic Representative (CA-32)


$500M for businesses partnerships at community colleges

Vice President Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis today announced that the Administration is making another $500 million available to create and expand innovative partnerships between community colleges and businesses to train workers with the skills employers need. This funding is part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Career Training grant program.

"Building a well-educated workforce is critical for the ongoing strengthening of our economy," said Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis. "These grants bring community colleges and businesses together to give students the skills they need to compete for good jobs in growing industries."

This program complements President Obama's broader agenda of helping every American have at least one year of post-secondary education and will help reach his goal of America having the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020.

Source: Press Release: Availability of $500 Million for Partnerships , Feb 24, 2012

1984: First elective office: Board of Community College

Solis worked for several years as the director of California Student Opportunity and Access, a state-sponsored program designed to provide grants and assistance, like that she herself had received, to minority and low-income students who wished to enroll in college.

Solis saw her first run for elective office, in 1984--for a seat on the board of the Rio Hondo Community College--as an extension of this work, trying, in the face of decreasing state funds, to ensure educational opportunity and access for everyone. In her capacity as a board member she worked very closely with the people of her community and became directly aware of their day-to-day problems and concerns.

Source: Profiles in Courage by Caroline Kennedy, p.282-283 , Oct 1, 2001

1992: Won State Assembly race focusing on education

Solis had run on the issues she thought her community wanted and needed to hear more about: "When I ran for the assembly in '92 I stressed education issues. I offered myself as an example of what education could do, how it could help people make life better in our community. But mostly I ran on the environmental platform, that we not forget about preserving the quality of life of people in the district. I asked questions like, 'Why are we taking in everybody's trash? Why are we allowing the degradation of our water supply? What are we going to do about this Superfund site [the Puente Hills landfill] we've got sitting here on the other side of town?'"

Solis's education and the ground-level experience she had acquired working in state and federal agencies helped her effectively "work the system" in the state assembly. She successfully pushed legislation on health care, domestic violence, and labor issue. She guided through the passage of several key measures on the environment.

Source: Profiles in Courage by Caroline Kennedy, p.284-285 , Oct 1, 2001

Voted YES on additional $10.2B for federal education & HHS projects.

Veto override on the bill, the American Competitiveness Scholarship Act, the omnibus appropriations bill for the Departments of Departments of Education, Health & Human Services, and Labor. Original bill passed & was then vetoed by the President.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Rep. OBEY: This bill, more than any other, determines how willing we are to make the investment necessary to assure the future strength of this country and its working families. The President has chosen to cut the investments in this bill by more than $7.5 billion in real terms. This bill rejects most of those cuts.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Rep. LEWIS: This bill reflects a fundamental difference in opinion on the level of funding necessary to support the Federal Government's role in education, health and workforce programs. The bill is $10.2 billion over the President's budget request. While many of these programs are popular on both sides of the aisle, this bill contains what can rightly be considered lower priority & duplicative programs. For example, this legislation continues three different programs that deal with violence prevention. An omnibus bill is absolutely the wrong and fiscally reckless approach to completing this year's work. It would negate any semblance of fiscal discipline demonstrated by this body in recent years.

Veto message from President Bush:

This bill spends too much. It exceeds [by $10.2 billion] the reasonable and responsible levels for discretionary spending that I proposed to balance the budget by 2012. This bill continues to fund 56 programs that I proposed to terminate because they are duplicative, narrowly focused, or not producing results. This bill does not sufficiently fund programs that are delivering positive outcomes. This bill has too many earmarks--more than 2,200 earmarks totaling nearly $1 billion. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.

Reference: American Competitiveness Scholarship Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 3043 ; vote number 2007-1122 on Nov 15, 2007

Voted YES on allowing Courts to decide on "God" in Pledge of Allegiance.

Amendment to preserve the authority of the US Supreme Court to decide any question pertaining to the Pledge of Allegiance. The bill underlying this amendment would disallow any federal courts from hearing cases concerning the Pledge of Allegiance. This amendment would make an exception for the Supreme Court.

Proponents support voting YES because:

I believe that our Pledge of Allegiance with its use of the phrase "under God" is entirely consistent with our Nation's cultural and historic traditions. I also believe that the Court holding that use of this phrase is unconstitutional is wrong. But this court-stripping bill is not necessary. This legislation would bar a Federal court, including the Supreme Court, from reviewing any claim that challenges the recitation of the Pledge on first amendment grounds.

If we are a Nation of laws, we must be committed to allowing courts to decide what the law is. This bill is unnecessary and probably unconstitutional. It would contradict the principle of Marbury v. Madison, intrude on the principles of separation of powers, and degrade our independent Federal judiciary.

Opponents support voting NO because:

I was disappointed 4 years ago when two judges of the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that our Pledge, our statement of shared national values, was somehow unconstitutional. I do not take legislation that removes an issue from the jurisdiction of this court system lightly. This legislation is appropriate, however, because of the egregious conduct of the courts in dealing with the Pledge of Allegiance.

By striking "under God" from the Pledge, the Court has shown contempt for the Congress which approved the language, and, more importantly, shows a complete disregard for the millions of Americans who proudly recite the Pledge as a statement of our shared national values and aspirations. No one is required to recite the Pledge if they disagree with its message.

Reference: Watt amendment to Pledge Protection Act; Bill H R 2389 ; vote number 2006-384 on Jul 19, 2006

Voted YES on $84 million in grants for Black and Hispanic colleges.

This vote is on a substitute bill (which means an amendment which replaces the entire text of the original bill). Voting YES means support for the key differences from the original bill: lowering student loan interest rates; $59 million for a new Predominantly Black Serving Institution program; $25 million for a new graduate Hispanic Serving Institution program; provide for year- round Pell grants; and repeal the Single Lender rule. The substitute's proponents say:
  • The original bill has some critical shortcomings. First and foremost, this substitute will cut the new Pell Grant fixed interest rate in half from 6.8% to 3.4%, to reduce college costs to those students most in need.
  • It would also establish a new predominantly black-serving institutions programs to boost college participation rates for low-income black students, and a new graduate Hispanic-serving institution program.
  • As we saw from 1995 to 2000, the questions employers were asking was not your race, not your ethnicity, not your religion, they wanted to know if you had the skills and talents to do the job. Most often today, those skills and that talent requires a higher education. A college education is going to have to become as common as a high school education.
    Reference: Reverse the Raid on Student Aid Act; Bill HR 609 Amendment 772 ; vote number 2006-080 on Mar 30, 2006

    Voted NO on allowing school prayer during the War on Terror.

    Children's Prayers Resolution: Expressing the sense of Congress that schools should allow children time to pray for, or silently reflect upon, the country during the war against terrorism.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Isakson, R-GA; Bill H.Con.Res.239 ; vote number 2001-445 on Nov 15, 2001

    Voted YES on requiring states to test students.

    No Child Left Behind Act of 2001: Vote to pass a bill that would authorize $22.8 billion in education funding, a 29 percent increase from fiscal 2001. The bill would require states to test students to track progress.
    Reference: Bill sponsored by Boehner R-OH; Bill HR 1 ; vote number 2001-145 on May 23, 2001

    Reduce class size to 18 children in grades 1 to 3.

    Solis co-sponsored an amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:

      Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to establish a grants program to:

    1. recruit, train, and hire 100,000 additional teachers over a seven-year period ;

    2. reduce class sizes nationally, in grades one through three, to an average of 18 students per classroom; and

    3. improve teaching in the early grades so that all students can learn to read independently and well by the end of the third grade.
    Source: House Resolution Sponsorship 01-HR1036 on Mar 14, 2001

    Opposes requiring schools to allow school prayer.

    Solis co-sponsored a bill weakening the requirements on voluntary prayer:

    H.R.340:

    To amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to improve the quality of public education and raise student achievement by increasing investment, strengthening accountability, raising standards for teachers, improving professional development and teacher compensation, rewarding successful schools, and providing better information to parents, and for other purposes.
    H.R.340: SEC. 10410. SCHOOL PRAYER.
    Any State or local educational agency that is adjudged by a Federal court of competent jurisdiction to have willfully violated a Federal court order mandating that such local educational agency remedy a violation of the constitutional right of any student with respect to prayer in public schools, shall be ineligible to receive Federal funds under this Act until such time as the local educational agency complies with such order.
    Opposing legislation H.R.1:
    No DOE funds shall be available to any educational agency which prevents participation in constitutionally protected prayer in public schools by individuals on a voluntary basis. [This is weakened in HR340 by requiring a federal court ruling on each school district before the removal of DOE funds.]
    Source: H.R.340 01-HR340 on Jan 31, 2001

    Rated 100% by the NEA, indicating pro-public education votes.

    Solis scores 100% by the NEA on public education issues

    The National Education Association has a long, proud history as the nation's leading organization committed to advancing the cause of public education. Founded in 1857 "to elevate the character and advance the interests of the profession of teaching and to promote the cause of popular education in the United States," the NEA has remained constant in its commitment to its original mission as evidenced by the current mission statement:

    To fulfill the promise of a democratic society, the National Education Association shall promote the cause of quality public education and advance the profession of education; expand the rights and further the interest of educational employees; and advocate human, civil, and economic rights for all.
    In pursuing its mission, the NEA has determined that it will focus the energy and resources of its 2.7 million members toward the "promotion of public confidence in public education." The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
    Source: NEA website 03n-NEA on Dec 31, 2003

    Supported funding for teacher training & other initiatives.

    Solis adopted the Women's Caucus policy agenda:

    Source: Women's Caucus Agenda-106th Congress 99-WC7 on Jul 15, 1999

    Other candidates on Education: Hilda Solis on other issues:
    Former Presidents:
    George W. Bush (R,2001-2009)
    Bill Clinton (D,1993-2001)
    George Bush Sr. (R,1989-1993)
    Ronald Reagan (R,1981-1989)
    Jimmy Carter (D,1977-1981)
    Gerald Ford (R,1974-1977)
    Richard Nixon (R,1969-1974)
    Lyndon Johnson (D,1963-1969)
    John F. Kennedy (D,1961-1963)
    Dwight Eisenhower (R,1953-1961)
    Harry_S_TrumanHarry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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    V.P.Dick Cheney
    Sen.Bob Dole
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    Milton Friedman
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    Page last updated: Jul 04, 2014