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How Would Ben Carson Handle HUD?

Senate BHThe question of whether the U.S. Senate will confirm Dr. Ben Carson as the new HUD Secretary will likely be answered on Thursday, January 12, with a confirmation hearing in the Senate Banking Committee.

The hearing will begin at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday, January 12, and will be webcast live. Click here to view the hearing at that time.

President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Carson, 65, a retired neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate, as HUD Secretary was surprising to some because Carson's experience has been in the medical field rather than in housing or government.

The lack of experience may work to Carson’s advantage, according to Tim Rood, Chairman of Washington, D.C.-based business advisory firm The Collingwood Group.

“Dr. Carson is an intelligent, impassioned, and empathetic individual,” Rood said in an interview with Neil Cavuto of Fox Business News. “Sometimes the very best policy makers are those who listen; and sometimes, good leaders who are not steeped in the subject matter are better listeners than those who believe they have all the answers.”

Deputy Chairman of The Collingwood Group Brian Montgomery, who served as FHA Commissioner under both the Bush and Obama Adminstrations, stated, “Having spent almost eight years in the Executive Office of the President, I speak from experience in saying a Cabinet Secretary who has the ear of the President is a positive for that agency and individual. In this instance, I think Dr. Carson will be able to ‘elevate’ the issue of housing within the Trump Administration. The fact Dr. Carson is a household name I believe will provide him a larger platform to articulate his vision for how best to help tackle any number of issues within the housing arena: shortage of affordable rental housing, the impact of new regulations which have constricted the mortgage market, and the growing senior population and how best to address their housing need.”

Carson is passionate about revitalizing urban communities, having been raised in the inner city of Detroit. He told Cavuto in a November interview that the inner cities across the U.S. were in “terrible shape” and “need real attention.”

Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute, believes that Dr. Carson is a good choice despite his lack of experience. A former senior executive at Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac, Delgado has met with the past five HUD secretaries to discuss housing reform and the state of the economy as it relates to the housing industry.

“Although Dr. Carson does not come from a traditional finance background, his work ethic speaks to the caliber of leader he is,” Delgado said. “With the right input and team in place, I believe he will make the best decisions to advance stability across the U.S. housing market.”


Dr. Ben Carson

“Dr. Carson's nomination is an indication of the tremendous respect that President-elect Trump has developed for his former rival,” says Ten-X EVP Rick Sharga said. “Dr. Carson has spoken out in the past about the need to revitalize many of the country's urban areas, so it wouldn't be a surprise if he focuses on doing that, and trying to find solutions to the growing problem of affordable housing. Since Dr. Carson has also discussed the unintended consequences of over-reaching government regulations, it's possible we may also see some streamlining, or regulatory relief as well.”

Carson has been critical of HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule, which was cited by outgoing HUD Secretary Julián Castro as one of the greatest achievements of his two-and-a-half year tenure heading the Department. On Monday, Castro expressed concern that Carson would roll back key HUD initiatives such as the AFFH Rule, telling NPR that “I'd be lying if I said that I'm not concerned about the possibility of going backward over the next four years.”

Castro said in the NPR interview that he had spoken with Carson by phone recently but they did not discuss specifics of the job. Castro said he believes that Carson may grow to appreciate HUD’s role once he “learns more about it,” according to NPR.

Sen. David Perdue (R-Georgia), a member of the Senate Banking Committee, stated after a recent meeting with Carson, “Dr. Carson’s heart for humanity is very impressive, and he will bring that commitment to this new responsibility to meet our nation’s diverse housing and development needs. I look forward to supporting Dr. Carson’s nomination and working together to roll back government regulations impeding economic growth so we can bring positive change to the most underserved communities in our country.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) stated, “I conveyed to Dr. Carson the problems I’ve run into and how I hope for more accountability and transparency for how taxpayer dollars are used to fulfill housing needs under a new administration. I said that the Office of Inspector General appears to be working well, and that such success should continue. I expressed the need for HUD to function well for the families and individuals who depend on public housing programs and for the many people on long waiting lists for public housing, even as money has been squandered in housing authority executive suites. HUD needs to get the biggest bang for the buck. Dr. Carson listened carefully to everything I had to say. I look forward to Dr. Carson’s swift confirmation so he can get to work making much-needed changes at HUD.”

Editor's note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News and DSNews.com.

About Author: Brian Honea

Brian Honea's writing and editing career spans nearly two decades across many forms of media. He served as sports editor for two suburban newspaper chains in the DFW area and has freelanced for such publications as the Yahoo! Contributor Network, Dallas Home Improvement magazine, and the Dallas Morning News. He has written four non-fiction sports books, the latest of which, The Life of Coach Chuck Curtis, was published by the TCU Press in December 2014. A lifelong Texan, Brian received his master's degree from Amberton University in Garland.

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