Marcia Fudge to step down as HUD secretary at end of month

“It has always been my belief that government can and should work for the people. For the last three years, I have fully embraced HUD’s mission to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all,” Fudge said in a statement. “The people HUD serves are those who are often left out and left behind. These are my people. They serve as my motivation for everything we have been able to accomplish.”

Fudge, 71, said her resignation would be effective March 22. Deputy secretary Adrianne Todman will serve as acting HUD secretary upon Fudge’s departure, the White House said.

Fudge will be only the second Cabinet secretary to leave President Biden’s administration. Marty Walsh stepped down as labor secretary last year to serve as the executive director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association.

Fudge’s announcement came days after White House chief of staff Jeff Zients told Politico Playbook that Cabinet and senior White House staff would remain through 2024.

A White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel decisions, said Monday that the White House knew about Fudge’s planned departure in advance.

“Jeff was answering a question about whether we have the team in place this year at the Cabinet and at the White House,” the official said in an email. “Jeff believes we do and believes that we have extraordinary retention within the administration and people who are committed to the President and his agenda. That remains true.”

In a statement, Biden praised Fudge as someone whose “transformational leadership” led to lower housing costs and increased housing supply, with more housing units under construction now than at any time in the past 50 years. He credited Fudge — the first Black woman to lead the federal agency in more than 40 years — with helping combat racial discrimination in housing by ensuring fairer home appraisals.

“When I took office, we inherited a broken housing system, with fair housing and civil rights protections badly dismantled under the prior administration,” Biden said. “On Day One, Marcia got to work rebuilding the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and over the past three years she has been a strong voice for expanding efforts to build generational wealth through homeownership and lowering costs and promoting fairness for America’s renters.”

Weeks after Biden’s inauguration in 2021, the Senate confirmed Fudge as HUD secretary in a strong bipartisan vote. Before joining Biden’s Cabinet, Fudge represented Ohio’s 11th Congressional District for 12 years and served as mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, for eight years. While in Congress, she served as a chair of the House Agriculture subcommittee on nutrition, oversight and department operations, as well as a chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In a statement Monday, members of the Congressional Black Caucus touted in particular Fudge’s focus on racial equity and the gap in Black homeownership in her work to provide access to safe and affordable housing.

“Under her leadership, the agency has supported nearly a quarter of a million Black people in purchasing a home and has taken significant steps to root out racial bias in the home appraisal process,” caucus chair Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.) said. “She leaves her mark on the agency as a passionate leader and the first African American woman to lead the department in decades, and only the second in our nation’s history.”

Deputy White House press secretary Olivia Dalton told reporters Monday that Biden planned to nominate a replacement for Fudge but did not have further details to share.

“[Fudge] has led a historic tenure over the last three years and we wish her nothing but the best,” Dalton said.

Azi Paybarah contributed to this report.

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