Five candidates emerge for Biden’s HUD secretary

Former Jacksonville mayor among top contenders for housing post

National /
Nov.November 11, 2020 04:00 PM
Clockwise from top left: California Rep. Karen Bass; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms;  Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, National Low Income Housing Coalition president and CEO Diane Yentel; and Local Initiatives Support Corporation president and CEO Maurice Jones (Getty)
Clockwise from top left: California Rep. Karen Bass; Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms;  Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, National Low Income Housing Coalition president and CEO Diane Yentel; and Local Initiatives Support Corporation president and CEO Maurice Jones (Getty)

Though President Donald Trump has yet to concede the election, pundits are already speculating about the makeup of Joe Biden’s cabinet.

Five candidates have emerged as frontrunners to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a role currently served by former neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

Carson made headlines this week after he tested positive for coronavirus, days after Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, was found to be infected. Carson’s successor will be tasked with undoing Trump’s rollback of an Obama-era fair housing rule and improving conditions at public housing developments.

Biden has stated that he may look to announce some candidates for cabinet posts before Thanksgiving.

These are the top contenders for HUD secretary, as projected by the New York Times and Politico.

Former Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown

Brown is reportedly high on the list of candidates. The Florida politician was an adviser to Gov. Andrew Cuomo when Cuomo was HUD secretary during the Clinton years. (Cuomo has also been suggested this time around, according to reports, but said he doesn’t want a cabinet job.) Brown was elected as the mayor of Jacksonville in 2011 and held the position until 2015.

California Rep. Karen Bass

The congresswoman, who was at one point considered a potential running mate for Biden, chairs the Congressional Black Caucus. Before entering politics she trained as a physician’s assistant and worked as a community organizer.

Housing nonprofit leader Diane Yentel

Yentel is president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an organization based in Washington, D.C., focused on housing policy. She previously served as director of the public housing management and occupancy division at HUD during the Obama administration.

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms

Bottoms was also considered as a potential running mate for Biden during his campaign. In April, she announced rent-relief measures for Atlanta residents dealing with income loss because of Covid-19.

Community development nonprofit CEO Maurice Jones

Jones was a leading figure at the department during the Obama administration and previously served as Virginia’s secretary of commerce. These days he runs the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a nonprofit financial organization focused on community development. It offers loans, grants and equity investments.

[NYT] — Sylvia Varnham O’Regan


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