WASHINGTON (AP) — President-elect Joe Biden has selected Ohio Rep. Marcia Fudge as his housing and urban development secretary, according to three people familiar with the decision.
Fudge was first elected to Congress in 2008 to represent a district that includes Cleveland, and she had been considered a leading candidate for agriculture secretary in the Biden administration.
Her intended nomination was confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday by three people familiar with the decision who spoke on condition of anonymity to avoid preempting the president-elect’s announcement.
As news outlets started reporting her selection as HUD secretary Tuesday, Fudge said on Capitol Hill that it would be “an honor and a privilege” to be asked to join Biden’s Cabinet, though she didn’t confirm she had been picked.
“It is something in probably my wildest dreams I would have never thought about. So if I can help this president in any way possible, I am more than happy to do it,” she said.
She enjoys the strong backing of South Carolina Rep. Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 House Democrat who gave Biden a key nod of support in the primaries. Biden has said he wants a diverse Cabinet, and some Black leaders have said he needs to do more to achieve that. He announced Tuesday that he had selected retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to be the nation’s first Black defense secretary.
Clyburn has aggressively pushed Fudge for USDA but seemed to back away from that post earlier Tuesday.
“Marcia Fudge is a tremendous candidate. I was pitching her for the Department of Agriculture,” Clyburn noted on CNN. “I don’t know if that’s where she will end up, but I feel certain that Marcia Fudge is the kind of person that should be in this Cabinet and I will continue to advocate for her.”
Fudge has worked as a member of the House Agriculture Committee, where she fiercely advocated for food stamps and other federal programs that help urban areas stem hunger and grow food. Beyond Clyburn, she also had the backing of progressive groups for the USDA position.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in business from The Ohio State University and a law degree from the Cleveland-Marshall School of Law at Cleveland State University.
Politico first reported the news of Fudge’s selection.