After weeks of speculation, President-elect Donald J. Trump has officially announced his intent to nominate Dr. Ben Carson to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The nomination arrived nearly two weeks after Trump announced via Twitter that he was “seriously considering” the retired neurosurgeon and former 2016 GOP presidential opponent for the cabinet position of HUD Secretary.
“Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities,” Trump said in a statement issued Monday by his Transition Team. “We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities.”
Carson, who last month commented through a spokesman that he is unqualified to run a federal agency, grew up in the inner city of Detroit before graduating from Yale University in 1973. He later enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, choosing to become a neurosurgeon. At age 33, Dr. Carson served as the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
A former GOP presidential candidate, Carson has since voiced his support for Trump after suspending his own presidential campaign in March. Over the past few weeks, Carson was undecided on whether or not he would accept Trump’s appointment of HUD Secretary. But with Monday’s announcement, the retired neurosurgeon appeared to accept the new cabinet position.
“I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration,” Carson said in a written statement. “I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation’s housing needs are met.”
Mortgage industry groups were quick to congratulate the nomination of Carson as they look to further collaborate with HUD under the Trump Administration over the next four years.
“Housing is one of the largest contributors to the health and success of the overall economy, and as such we must continue to recognize its significance,” said David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, in a press release. “MBA looks forward to working with Dr. Carson in helping to build out a well-rounded team of housing experts, with a deep technical understanding of the issues, at HUD, FHA and Ginnie Mae.”
As HUD Secretary, Carson will be responsible for leading a federal agency with a budget of approximately $47 billion and an estimated 8,400 employees.
Carson will also be accountable for overseeing the Federal Housing Administration’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which recently reported an economic value of approximately $35 billion for FHA’s forward mortgage business and a value of negative $7.7 billion in the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage portfolio in fiscal year 2016.
Despite Carson’s lack of experience, his background in meeting the health care needs of people of all ages provides him with a unique perspective for leading HUD, an agency responsible for strengthening communities and supporting affordable housing, said Peter Bell, president and CEO of the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.
“Once confirmed, we hope that Dr. Carson will recognize housing as a platform for improving individual health and community quality of life, and seek to bolster the Federal Housing Administration’s mortgage insurance programs,” Bell said in a statement provided to RMD. “These programs help middle class Americans of all ages to purchase property, and enable older homeowners to convert a portion of their home’s equity to sustain their ability to stay in their homes for as long as possible.”
Written by Jason Oliva