Congresswoman Marcia Fudge of Ohio was confirmed Wednesday as the new secretary of Housing and Urban Development in a 66-34 Senate vote. The onetime Congressional Black Caucus chair will be only the second African American woman to serve in the role, following Patricia Roberts Harris, who held the position in the Carter administration.
Fudge, who has served in the House since 2008, will be joining HUD at a time when housing insecurity is being exacerbated by the effects of the pandemic, leaving countless Americans unable to make rent payments and at risk of being evicted.
Before President Biden nominated her to lead HUD, Fudge was openly angling for the Agriculture secretary role. She had served on the House Agriculture Committee and was chair of the Nutrition subcommittee.
In a November interview with Politico, Fudge didn’t seem as interested in HUD, saying, “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. You know, it’s always ‘we want to put the Black person in labor or HUD.’”
The Agriculture secretary job ultimately went to Tom Vilsack, who previously held the role in the Obama administration.
During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, Fudge made it clear that the issue of affordable housing was of particular importance to her.
“We need to deliver on the administration’s commitments on improving the quality, safety, and accessibility of affordable housing and building 1.5 million new affordable homes,” Fudge said.
Fudge also emphasized her goal to make homeownership “a reality for all Americans” by tackling the racial prejudice that still occurs throughout the home-purchasing process.
“That will require us to end discriminatory practices in the housing market, and ensure that our fair housing rules are doing what they are intended to do: opening the door for families, especially families of color who have been systematically kept out in the cold across generations, to buy homes and punch their ticket to the middle class,” Fudge said.