One of the many consequences that come with a presidential transition is that all of the associated administration personnel leave office with the president that they serve under, as will be the case with the incumbent Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Dr. Ben Carson. While Carson at different points publicly entertained the idea of leaving the government at the conclusion of President Donald Trump’s term, or staying on should the president be re-elected, the election results now mean that the leadership at HUD is almost certain to change in 2021.
To that end, candidates for a new HUD Secretary under the administration of President-elect Joe Biden have started to emerge, and five candidates for the top job at HUD in particular stick out. This is according to a piece at the New York Times, examining possible contenders for different cabinet-level positions in the incoming Biden administration.
Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.)
Rep. Karen Bass of California serves in the House of Representatives in California’s 37th district, which covers several Los Angeles neighborhoods as well as the communities of Inglewood and Culver City. While Bass was reportedly considered as a potential running mate for the president-elect, she is now a candidate for at least two different cabinet positions including HUD secretary, according to the Times.
“Ms. Bass, a longtime member of Congress from California, chairs the Congressional Black Caucus,” the Times article reads. “A community organizer before she entered politics, she is well-versed on the housing challenges facing her South Los Angeles district.”
Bass is also trained as a physician’s assistant, and is thus also being discussed as a candidate for the Secretary of Health and Human Services, according to the Times. Before serving as representative for the 37th district beginning in 2013, Bass served a term as representative for the 33rd district prior to redistricting performed by the California legislature.
Former Mayor Alvin Brown
Having served four years as the mayor of Jacksonville, Fla., Brown served as the advisor to the HUD Secretary under President Bill Clinton, Andrew Cuomo, who has since gone on to become the Governor of New York.
“[Brown] worked on the Clinton-Gore transition team, and served at the Commerce Department during the Clinton administration,” the New York Times says.
After his time in government, Brown served as executive in residence at Jacksonville University’s Davis School of Business for a time before becoming the president and CEO of the Willie Gary Classic Foundation, overseeing scholarships to historically Black colleges.
He also served as executive director of the Bush/Clinton Katrina Interfaith Fund spearheaded by former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.
Now serving as president and CEO of a national community development institution called the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Jones served for two years as the deputy secretary of HUD during the Obama administration before being succeeded by Nani A. Coloretti.
Jones also previously served in the state government of Virginia, as the state’s secretary of commerce under Governor Terry McAuliffe from 2014-2016.
Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms
The incumbent mayor of Atlanta, Ga., Keisha Lance Bottoms served as a campaign surrogate for President-elect Biden during the 2020 campaign and was also reportedly under consideration as a possible running mate before the ultimate selection of California Senator and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“Ms. Bottoms has made affordable housing a priority, proposing a $1 billion public-private initiative to improve access to housing in Atlanta,” the Times article reads.
Bottoms has served as a voice of dissent in Georgia over the response to COVID-19 spearheaded by Governor Brian Kemp, seeing the governor’s declaration to reopen businesses in April as “premature,” according to Newsweek.
Leader of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Ms. Yentel “successfully” opposed many of the Trump administration’s attempted cuts to low-income housing programs, according to the Times.
Interestingly, Yentel also lamented the resignation of HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude in late 2018, a member of the Trump administration who would also eventually be succeeded by current deputy secretary Brian D. Montgomery.
“This is a tremendous loss for HUD,” said Yentel in a statement on Twitter at the time. “Pam’s dedication to housing for the lowest income and most vulnerable people is a big part of what held that building together over [the] last 2 years. She moved some good things forward and stopped a lot of bad. I wish her all the best.”
Read the article at the New York Times.