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Fudge: 'I can do so much of the same things' at HUD as agriculture

Fudge: 'I can do so much of the same things' at HUD as agriculture
© Greg Nash

Rep. Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeOn The Money: Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall | Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure On The Money: Democrats make full-court press on expanded child tax credit | White House confident Congress will raise debt ceiling HUD secretary links student loan debt to decline in Black homeownership MORE (D-Ohio), President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenSchumer vows to advance two-pronged infrastructure plan next month Biden appoints veteran housing, banking regulator as acting FHFA chief Iran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' MORE’s nominee for secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said she was “elated” to be named to the position and that despite calls for her to be named secretary of Agriculture, she could accomplish similar things at HUD.

“Everybody knows how passionate I am about feeding hungry children and school lunches and the kinds of things we do with food and nutrition. It is my passion. I can do so much of the same things with HUD,” Fudge told The 19th in her first interview since the announcement of her nomination.

Fudge added that she has been in touch with former Agriculture secretary Tom VilsackTom VilsackUSDA: Farm-to-school programs help schools serve healthier meals OVERNIGHT MONEY: House poised to pass debt-ceiling bill MORE, whom Biden has announced he will name to his old position.

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“I do believe that [Vilsack] is willing to hear some of the things that I and others have been talking about and thinking about. And I think that it’s going to be pretty successful,” Fudge added. “I know that he’s going to be somewhat controversial, but I believe that the President-elect has made a decision, and that he is putting together a team that he feels comfortable with that can carry on his agenda.”

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.), whose endorsement of Biden was considered pivotal to his eventual winning of the Democratic nomination, has called on the former vice president to appoint Fudge to the Department of Agriculture.

“It’s time for Democrats to treat the Department of Agriculture as the kind of department it purports to be,” he told The New York Times in November. He noted that the Department of Agriculture, which in addition to farming oversees nutrition assistance and rural housing programs, “deals with consumer issues and nutrition and things that affect people’s day-to-day lives.”

Clyburn has also called on Biden to show commitment to diversity in his appointments, which Fudge also addressed.

“I think he’s really doing pretty good. I’m pleased to this point with those that I have seen that have been appointed, but there are more than 1,200 positions that have to be confirmed by the Senate,” she said. “There’s a long way to go with this, so I’m just going to wait and see.”

In a November interview with Politico, Fudge said that “As this country becomes more and more diverse, we're going to have to stop looking at only certain agencies as those that people like me fit in.”

“You know, it's always ‘We want to put the Black person in [the Department of] Labor or HUD,' " she added.