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The Value of HUD in Trump's America

December 16, 2016

Our news cycle has been dominated by president-elect Donald Trump since November 8th, and it is hard to keep up with the constant updates and all-too-often discouraging headlines regarding the days before he takes office. Many of these headlines, such as those revealing Trump's cabinet appointments, are going to have real world implications after Inauguration Day, and we should begin to prepare for that reality. 


Leading the charge on this conversation is Joy Reid on MSNBC's AM Joy. It was a "joy" to participate on a panel on her show this past Sunday, discussing our concerns over the latest in Trump cabinet appointments. 


As someone with experience in small business and entrepreneurship, housing and real estate, and the health industry, I am familiar with how important our governments largest federal agencies are to the everyday operation of our country. Being a part of this conversation is important as an individual citizen, and as a representative for so many communities that depend on the president and his cabinet to make the right choices for us all. 


Which is why so many of his cabinet choices are a concern. 


On AM Joy, I was able to discuss the appointee who gives me pause, a slightly longer pause than the rest. A man who, as Joy points out during the segment, admitted not being qualified to hold a cabinet position, who does not have any experience in the field of his appointed department, and whose views are antithetical to the mission of his department.



Dr. Ben Carson may have been a good physician, but his experience as a neurosurgeon does nothing to help him understand and empathize with the mission of Housing and Urban Development. Even if he had grown up in public housing, lived experience alone would not provide the tools and skills needed to properly service the people who depend on HUD. And a lot of people do. 


HUD is one of the most impactful government agencies, affecting the lives of the 80% of Americans who live in urban areas, encouraging our country's economic growth from the bottom up, and bringing communities together. This is an agency with so much potential to shape America from its roots by providing real solutions instead of short sighted quick fixes. Unfortunately, Carson's criticisms of the Fair Housing Act as social engineering and housing programs as communist show a lack of understanding of the impact and prevalence of discrimination facing us through housing markets. A man who reportedly believes poverty is a choice should not be responsible for those who need public housing, or depend on projects that make their urban neighborhood more livable. 


As I discussed on the show, I am concerned that the incoming administration does not take HUD seriously, if they are comfortable appointing a leader who not only has no bureaucratic credentials, but no credentials near the field of housing and urban development. HUD deserves a leader who is aligned with their mission, who seeks to serve the American people, and who has the proper experience to follow through. 


Watch last Sunday's AM Joy on MSNBC to catch my segment, and tune in for the latest coverage every weekend 10a-12p EST.


Photo by Gage Skidmore.

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