The Senate voted Wednesday to confirm Rep. Marcia Fudge as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Fudge, the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, was confirmed on a 66-34 vote in the Senate, making her the first woman to serve as HUD secretary since 1979.

The Ohio native becomes the second Black woman and the third woman ever to lead the department.

“I can think of no one better to lead us out of this pandemic and create strong communities for the future than Marcia Fudge,” Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, told The Hill. “When she came before the [committee], Congresswoman Fudge’s knowledge and passion for service, her commitment to the people who make this country work were obvious to all of us, Republicans and Democrats alike.”

The confirmation was lauded by women’s and other groups.

“Her appointment comes at a pivotal time when her leadership is sorely needed,” said Marcela Howell, president and CEO of In Our Own Voice: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda. “The U.S. faces a severe housing crisis as millions of residents struggle to pay their rent and mortgages due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to dealing with the fallout from the pandemic-induced economic downturn, Rep. Fudge will have to clean up the housing policy mess left by the last administration.

“Black women and their families suffered immensely under Trump’s housing policies, which weakened protections against discrimination,” Howell said. “Now, HUD must clean house and get back to the business ensuring all U.S. residents have access to safe, affordable housing.”

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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