The U.S. Senate confirmed former Rep. Marcia L. Fudge to serve as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday, 66-34, making her the sixth African American to become part of the Biden Administration cabinet. Vice President Kamala Harris swore her in shortly after her confirmation.
The addition to the cabinet came on a day that others were being confirmed including Michael Regan as head of the Environmental Protection Agency, the first Black person to be in that position; and Merrick Garland as Attorney General.
Fudge has represented Ohio’s 11th District, which includes areas of Cleveland and Akron in the House of Representatives since 2008. Prior to that, she was mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio and served as an aide to the late Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones. She was also chair of the Congressional Black Caucus from 2013 to 2015.
VIDEO: Rep. Marcia Fudge Defines Leadership and Creating Change
Now that she has gained the leadership position at HUD, Fudge is tasked with addressing the housing crisis that came with the coronavirus pandemic, which had a serious detrimental effect on millions, leaving many in poverty, particularly people of color. She has pledged to get help for people who are behind on rent payments because of income loss.
"My first priority as secretary would be to alleviate that crisis and get people the support they need to come back from the edge," she said during her confirmation hearing in January, according to CNN.
She was a supporter of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was approved by the House on Wednesday and is expected to be signed by President Biden.
“Housing and food insecurity are on the rise and countless small businesses have shuttered, hitting Black and Brown communities the hardest. Just this week, our nation passed the grim milestone of 500,000 lives lost to COVID-19. The need for bold, urgent action has never been clearer,” Fudge said in a statement in February.
She is the first Black woman to serve in the position in 40 years. Patricia Harris was the first Black woman to be HUD Secretary, serving from 1977 to 1979 under President Jimmy Carter.
Fudge now joins five other African Americans serving on the cabinet or in cabinet-level positions: Vice President Harris; Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin; EPA Administrator Michael Regan, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield; and Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecelia Rouse.