Biden taps Rep. Marcia Fudge to lead housing agency

Rep. Marcia Fudge could become the second Black woman to lead HUD

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President-elect Joe Biden has nominated Rep. Marcia Fudge as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The appointment of HUD secretary would make Fudge the second Black woman to lead the agency.

As confirmed to theGrio by the Biden transition team, President-elect Biden selected the Ohio Democrat, who is the second Black person named to Biden’s cabinet this week after Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, a retired military officer chosen by Biden to run the Pentagon.

Read More: Marcia Fudge campaigns for Biden’s Ag Secretary: ‘I’ve been very, very loyal’

Rep. Marcia Fudge
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

If confirmed by the Senate, she would succeed the current secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, who has been in the role since 2017.

Fudge, who has served in the House for 12 years, is the former mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio and served as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Throughout her political career she has championed issues like affordable housing, urban revitalization, infrastructure investment.

It’s worth noting, however, that Democrats will have a slim majority in the 117th Congress. Fudge, who has served in Ohio’s 11th District since 2008, insisted that her seat was in a “safe district” and there was no cause for concern.

“Whoever would come here would be part of this team as well, so that gives me some comfort,” Fudge said. “I just have to hope that we can hold together long enough to make sure that something like that would happen if I should leave.”

Read More: Joe Biden criticism over cabinet diversity is not accurate nor fair

Rep. Marcia Fudge
In this image from video, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Thursday, April 23, 2020. (House Television via AP)

theGrio reported last month that Fudge had her ambitions set on becoming the next Secretary of Agriculture. She highlighted her loyalty to the Democratic party and expressed that she did not want to be relegated to a pre-determined position.

“As this country becomes more and more diverse, we’re going to have to stop looking at only certain agencies as those that people like me fit in,” she told Politico. “You know, it’s always ‘We want to put the Black person in labor or HUD,’” the congresswoman said.

Fudge and the Congressional Black Caucus were eager to see her in USDA and lobbied for the post. However, sources indicate that Biden has picked former Obama Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack for the role. Controversy ensued over rumblings that Fudge would prioritize food insecurity but that Vilsack would favor rural states and farmers’ interests.

Majority Whip Jim Clyburn signaled that Fudge would be utilized in a different capacity.

“Look for her to be in the Cabinet,” Clyburn said on MSNBC Tuesday morning. “It may not be at Agriculture, but she will be nominated to be in the Cabinet.”

If named to the post, Fudge would be the nation’s second Black woman to lead HUD. The first, Patricia Roberts Harris, was appointed to the post in 1977 during the Jimmy Carter administration, becoming the first African-American female Cabinet member. Harris, an Illinois native, died at age 60 in 1985.

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