Carson to defend HUD nomination, talk up upbringing in hearing

In his opening remarks Thursday morning, Dr. Ben Carson is expected to defend why he wants to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development after initially declining to be part of President-elect Donald Trump‘s administration while talking up his bonafides for the job — specifically his hard-scrabble upbringing.

Carson, a famed neurosurgeon, plans to tell the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee about his desire to run the department and discuss his belief that the department could be an agent for good, and even to help families escape from poverty into a prosperous lives.

“Many members of this Committee with whom I’ve met have asked me why I would want to run HUD. It’s a good question,” Carson will tell the committee, according to prepared remarks. “I want to help heal America’s divisions, and I think HUD is positioned to help in that healing. One of our biggest threats right now is this political division, racial conflict, and class warfare. It is ripping this country apart – we need to tamp down this animosity.”

“I come before this Committee with the belief that anyone in America can, should, and will be able to achieve their dreams, but that sometimes the most basic needs prevent these people from reaching their potential. Simply put, it’s difficult for a child to learn at school if he or she doesn’t have an adequate place to live,” Carson will say. “Government can and should help. However, I believe we need to ensure that the help we provide families is efficient and effective. It cannot, and should not, trap people in an intergenerational cycle of poverty.”

Carson, who will sit before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Thursday morning, will also lay out his plans to “solve difficult” problems facing the department, equating them to those many believed to be “impossible” during his time as the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

“Throughout my life, I have done things that many deemed impossible,” Carson will tell the committee. “I pledge to work with this Committee and the dedicated career staff at HUD to solve difficult, seemingly obstinate issues and address the needs of those who rely on the services provided by HUD.”

“I see HUD as part of the solution, helping ensure housing security and strong communities. HUD has several different ways it helps people, through insuring financing for that first home to helping those in poverty, which has been an intractable problem for decades.”

Throughout his remarks, Carson also will speak about his mother’s role in his upbringing, which included him living in Detroit before moving to Boston because his mother could not afford their house. He ultimately moved back to Detroit six years later into the same home.

Carson’s selection for the post came after a back-and-forth about his willingness to accept a nomination, having said early on that he didn’t think he would be a good fit to run a bureaucracy and could have a greater impact from outside government. However, Trump announced on Twitter that he was considering Carson for the post before formally announcing his selection.

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