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Opinion, commentary, and analysis on everything that makes the U.S. housing economy tick -- not to mention the ghosts in the machine, too. Written by HW's team of editors and reporters each business day.
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Questioning Ben Carson as HUD secretary? Here’s the silver lining for housing

President-elect Donald Trump selects Ben Carson as HUD secretary

November 28, 2016

Ben Carson as HUD secretary… I’m guessing it’s a title you didn’t expect to hear connected to the former GOP presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon.

And although it sounds like an outlandish idea to most Americans, there’s a silver lining. 

In fact, the positive side is one that people in housing actually asked for....

Quickly after America voted Donald Trump as the next President, people started to speculate over who he would select to be in his cabinet.

Ben Carson’s name consistently appeared at the top of many rumored lists, but few, if any, believed that that he would fill the Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary position.

Instead, people slated him to be the Health and Human Services secretary, Education secretary or, what most people assumed, the surgeon general.

The speculation ended early Monday morning when HousingWire confirmed, from sources close to the appointment, Carson would officially accept the role of United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

So what does Carson know about housing to make him qualified for the role?

This question keeps cropping up when people hear the news, and while I don’t have answer to it, I can say HousingWire will stay on top of the news as it unfolds (As we proved here and here.)

One thing I do know for sure is that Ben Carson brought housing to the forefront of the conversation, a change that is needed and often asked for.

In the run-up to the election, HousingWire continuously noted that presidential candidates never discussed housing despite the need for it.  

This isn’t anything new though. Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros noted in an interview with HousingWire that housing is never a main topic during the election despite it being a universal good, meaning everybody needs to have a place to live.

Ben Carson holds the potential to change this.

Ben Carson recently became a household name given his rise to prominence in the run-up to the election.

Not to demean current HUD Secretary Julián Castro, but how many people outside of the housing bubble actually know who he is?

Castro currently has 137K followers on Twitter, compared to Carson, who has a whopping 2.43 million.

Before Carson accepted the position, rumors swirled about the possibility of Pam Patenaude, who currently serves as the president of the J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation for Housing America's Families, and Robert Woodson, who runs the Center for Neighborhood Enterprise in Washington, D.C., taking the position of potential HUD secretaries under Trump.

Both of them put Carson’s list of qualifications to shame, but unfortunately, if either of them were selected for the position, it’s likely that the news would barely make headlines then fade away.

Carson, on the other hand, captivated the media’s attention due his lack of experience in housing.

Even Donald Trump went about this nomination in an unusual fashion, alluding to selecting Carson as head of HUD in a tweet.

I will stress that being famous does not translate into great leadership, and more followers on social media is no way to select the future leader of HUD.

But what this does bring is a chance for people to start talking about housing in a way that hasn’t been done in a long time.

All of a sudden people have a lot of feelings about who sits at the helm of HUD. And since so little is known about Carson's thoughts on housing, there's a lot of unknowns going into this selection.

What Carson does with this potential is yet to be seen. I personally hope he exceeds our expectations.

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