The U.S. Senate confirmed Rep. Marcia Fudge in a 66-34 vote as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday, making her the the second Black woman to hold the office and the first in decades.
Fudge follows in the footsteps of Patricia Harris who was appointed HUD Secretary under President Jimmy Carter in 1977.
Fudge was elected to congress to represent Ohio in 2008 and also chaired the Congressional Black Caucus. She will immediately resign her seat and will be sworn in at 5 p.m.
Fudge will take over leadership from embattled HUD Secretary Ben Carson, a former doctor who had no prior experience in civil rights or housing policy.
Under Carson HUD rolled out, eliminated or revised housing practices and regulations that disproportionately affected Black communities. The Trump administration’s efforts severely moved away from the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and religion.
During her confirmation hearings Fudge voiced she would dedicate her efforts to eliminating discriminatory housing practices and boosting Black homeownership, two tenants housed under the Biden administration’s equity plan for Black and low-income Americans.
Because of the harsh realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fudge said she would immediately prioritize providing rental assistance to households at risk of eviction.
“We cannot afford to have people–millions of people evicted from their homes or their apartments, because the problem then just gets worse it doesn’t get better,” Fudge said. “I understand that there are some who believe that we are doing more than we should, but I believe we are not doing enough.”
Following the confirmation announcement, several civil rights organizations voiced their support for a new chapter in HUD’s history.
NAACP President Derrick Johnson tweeted a note of congratulations to HUD, promising that the civil rights organization would “stand ready to assist in fulfilling your pledge to address housing systemic racial inequities.”
“We congratulate Marcia Fudge today, on her confirmation as Housing and Urban Development Secretary making her the first Black woman to hold this position in more than 40 years,” reads a statement from Ben Jealous, president of civil rights group People For the American Way.
“Secretary Fudge has spent her entire career working to ensure that all Americans are able ‘to live a life free from poverty and its impacts,’ including accessible, affordable, safe housing. We know Marcia Fudge will fight to end the discriminatory practice of redlining, address racial disparities in homeownership and expand access to quality, affordable housing. Ms. Fudge’s confirmation is a victory for a more equitable America. We are excited about the advances that she will make for millions of people over the course of her tenure.”
The Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBTQ organization, also congratulated Fudge on Twitter.
The Congressional Black Caucus, where Fudge was a longtime member also weighed in on her confirmation.
“The Congressional Black Caucus congratulates former CBC Chair and our beloved sister Marcia Fudge on her historic confirmation as the 18th Secretary of HUD and the first woman to serve in that important role in forty years. Although she and her scholarly counsel will be sorely missed here in Congress, her command of the issues impacting our most vulnerable, at-risk Americans will undoubtedly have a life-altering impact on countless individuals and families. Secretary Fudge is uniquely aware of the critical importance of Housing in our constituents’ lives and to the American people. She will be an invaluable member of the Biden Administration and a fierce advocate for the American people. The CBC could not be more pleased by her successful confirmation.”