It isn’t very often that a presidential cabinet secretary visits Chelsea. Yet this is exactly what happened this week when the city was visited by U.S.Labor Secretary Hilda Solis.
What we learned from her visit is that Hilda Solis is a very bright, very devoted public servant doing her best to turn things around.
She was open. She was honest. She was, for the most part, compelling about the role played by the Labor Secretary in bringing the unemployed back into the mix so they can fill jobs that go waiting.
Something about President Barack Obama becomes slightly clearer when you meet someone like Secretary Solis.
She is the first Hispanic Secretary of Labor and she obviously impressed the president in order to get the job.
Like the president, her life was not about privilege when growing up. Her parents were immigrant laborers. She is one of seven children. She put herself though college. Whatever she has gotten out of her life she did on her own and with the aid of government loans for college.
In this instance, it would appear that the president made a good choice in 2009 when he appointed her.
She understands the human predicament. She needs no introduction to what adversity is all about.
She speaks artfully and with passion.
Judging by her visit here and her discussion about her role – she said she doesn’t create jobs, she brings people together – she comes across as painfully honest and smart enough to understand that this recession we’ve just gone through was almost catastrophic.
She said it had changed everything about the economy and about job creation and job retention, wages paid and it has changed the unemployment scene, as well.
Yet she spoke without pessimism.
She believes in the future as all the president’s men and women believe in the future.
As a messenger from Washington, Secretary Solis tried to spread the message that Washington is there to aid Americans, not to work against them during this difficult time.
And basically, this is what the presidential campaign is about, whether or not the nation wants to cut government back and close many of the doors in offices with federal employees attempting to aid those unable to aid themselves or to move forward, using government when necessary and trying to gradually improve the economic scene in this nation.
The Republicans want to slash and cut. The Democrats want to prime the pump.
There appears to be no in between this time around. The nation is divided. Our politics are skewered. Neither party seems to know the way.
Secretary Solis understands that by reaching out, by using community colleges to train people for useful jobs, that all these things ultimately connect and bring people together.
What she saw happening in Chelsea is being replicated in hundreds of Chelsea’s all over the nation.
Working together, she seemed to say, we can change the world and ultimately, we can put a lot of people back to work.