Dr. Ben Carson was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the 17th Secretary of HUD on Thursday.
Carson, a retired neurosurgeon who was raised in the inner city of Detroit, became a household name in 2015 when he embarked on a campaign to win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Presidency.
The final vote was 58-41.
On January 24, Carson’s nomination easily passed in the Senate Banking Committee as he gained the support of some of the key Democrats on that Committee—namely, Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). Democrats had previously been hesitant to offer their support of Carson, largely due to his criticisms of the Obama Administration’s fair housing policies.
In his confirmation hearing on January 24, Carson spoke of taking a more “holistic” approach to housing as he seeks to rebuild the country’s urban areas.
Carson succeeds Julián Castro, who stepped down from the role of HUD Secretary on January 20 after two and a half years. Craig Clemmensen, Director, Departmental Enforcement Center at HUD, has been serving as Acting HUD Secretary since the departure of Castro.
Carson, 65, becomes the oldest person to be confirmed by the Senate for the role of HUD Secretary. The previous oldest was George W. Romney, who was 61 at the time of his confirmation as the third HUD Secretary in January 1969.
Members of the industry reacted to the historic confirmation, including Ed Delgado, President and CEO of the Five Star Institute.
“The Senate’s decision to confirm Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of HUD displays their faith in the qualities, skills, and experience, which Carson has acquired throughout his impressive career,” stated Ed Delgado, President and CEO of The Five Star Institute and former Wells Fargo and Freddie Mac executive. “We look forward to the advancements that he will bring to the development of housing in under-served areas.”
Brian Montgomery, Collingwood Group Vice Chairman and former FHA Commissioner, expressed his approval of Dr. Carson's confirmation on Westwood One's First Light radio show.
“There is little doubt President-elect Trump greatly admires and respects Dr. Ben Carson and felt strongly about him joining his Cabinet. 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," he said. "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."
Collingwood Group partner Meg Burns supported Montgomery's sentiments, and added that Carson has "all of the right characteristics" to assume the position as HUD Secretary.
"I anticipate that Ben Carson will be an excellent HUD Secretary. He has all of the right characteristics—he's extremely intelligent, compassionate, well-attuned to the needs of the constituency he'll be serving, and he appears to have good standing with President Trump, based on a strong relationship of mutual respect. Equally important, he has signaled that he plans to call on the expertise of HUD's career officials for insight and guidance, and to listen to the perspectives of key external stakeholders. The very best leaders at HUD devote a great deal of time and attention to listening. Based on my 20+ years of experience in government, I have found that those who bring an open mind to the task and who really hear the various opposing views regarding how to address critical social policy issues are the most capable of making a real difference."
Editor's Note: The Five Star Institute is the parent company of DS News.