In her first wide-ranging interview discussing her nomination by President-elect of the United States Joe Biden to serve as the next Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) describes what she sees as the priorities of her role in leading the Department in a discussion with the editor of independent news outlet The 19th.
While originally eyeing the job of Secretary of Agriculture in the new administration, that job ultimately went to Tom Vilsack, who served in the same position for all eight years of the Barack Obama administration between 2009-2017. However, Fudge sees a degree of commonality between the goals she felt for the agriculture department, and what she believes she can do in the leadership position at HUD.
“Everybody knows how passionate I am about feeding hungry children and school lunches and the kinds of things we do with food and nutrition,” she tells The 19th. “It is my passion. I can do so much of the same things with HUD.”
Fudge also described what it was like to hear that she would be Biden’s nominee for HUD Secretary, relating surprise tempered by an understanding of the challenges that lie ahead in 2021.
“I have always wanted to be a voice for those people who have no voice, and to show people that people like me, public officials and public servants really can make a difference in their everyday lives,” she explained.
For some who see Fudge as an unusual choice for HUD Secretary given her previous experience in government, she describes a desire to ensure greater levels of access to affordable housing.
“I’m very passionate about the fact that every single person in this country should have a decent place to lay their heads,” she said. “I’m very passionate about the fact that we need to find ways to start to eradicate homelessness. This is the big part of this for me, is to empower communities to understand that public housing or low income housing should not be a lifetime, it should be a just a stopping point. The only way we make that happen is by empowering them to get jobs in their own communities.”
Rep. Fudge’s name was made public as the nominee-designate for HUD Secretary early last week, and was officially confirmed by the Biden-Harris transition team the following Thursday. An aide to Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, who was rumored to have been under consideration for HUD Secretary, revealed that the transition team did ask her to join the president-elect’s cabinet but that she declined that offer, according to The Hill. She did not specify which posting was declined.
President-elect Biden’s election victory was made official on Monday when the Electoral College convened and cast their votes in state legislatures across the country.
Read the interview with Rep. Fudge at The 19th.