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Harkin Congratulates Patricia Smith on Senate Confirmation as Solicitor of Labor

Says Smith Will Advocate on Behalf of America's Workers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, today issued the following statement following Senate confirmation of Patricia Smith, of New York, to be Solicitor at the U.S. Department of Labor.  The full Senate voted 60 to 37 for confirmation.  The HELP Committee approved her nomination on October 7, 2009.

“Commissioner Smith is abundantly qualified to serve as Solicitor.  She has a very impressive background in labor law and a demonstrated record of achievement in the State of New York.  More importantly, she clearly has a deep and passionate commitment to helping American workers.  I can think of no better qualification for this critical position.

“Her expertise is needed now more than ever, particularly in this economy when American workers are struggling and deserve a strong advocate.  With over 30 years of experience in enforcing labor laws and a proven track-record of managing a multi-level agency, she will be a Solicitor who’s willing to go the extra mile and try new approaches and new ideas to help protect workers’ rights.

“It is unfortunate that Ms. Smith’s nomination, despite endorsements from major business organizations in the State of New York, was required to overcome yet another in a long line of Republican filibusters – an ongoing abuse of a procedural mechanism designed for better purposes.
“I congratulate her on this Senate confirmation and wish her well in her new post.”