President-elect Joe Biden is reportedly choosing Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, an Ohio Democrat, to lead the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), according to various media reports.

Congresswoman Marcia Fudge | Photo credit: Office of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge

Fudge, whose district includes parts of Cleveland and Akron, lobbied to become the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, according to Politico. She becomes the first woman to lead the agency since Patricia Harris, who served under President Jimmy Carter.

Fudge currently serves on the Committee on House Administration, House Committee on Agriculture and House Committee on Education and Labor. She also serves on the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services, which oversees the Community Block Service Grant Act and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program.

Fudge’s reported nomination received the support of Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, one of the party’s more progressive lawmakers and a staunch critic of how the Trump administration handled housing finance. 

“[Rep. Marcia Fudge] is a talented lawyer, successful mayor, and effective legislator,” Brown wrote on Twitter. “There is nothing Marcia can’t accomplish, and she would make Ohio proud leading HUD.”

As HUD secretary, Fudge would be tasked with implementing key aspects of the Biden campaign’s promises on affordable housing, which includes an investment of $640 billion in housing over the next 10 years.

She will also oversee the administration’s reversal of the Trump administration and current HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s weakening of the disparate impact rule and Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing provision.

Her first task, however, will likely be to deal with the economic and housing fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, which could lead to a massive wave of evictions without action. Fudge, in her capacity as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, has been vocal in calling for the need for rental assistance, which puts her in the same camp as the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

NAR’s lobbying arm, Realtor PAC, donated $4,000 to Fudge’s campaign for the 2019-2020 election cycle, according to Open Secrets, a political lobbying watchdog organization. She was one of 451 congressional candidates to receive money from NAR for the cycle.

If Fudge is appointed to lead HUD, a special election will be held for the seat.

Email Patrick Kearns

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