Former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez joined three other past Housing and Urban Development secretaries Thursday in backing President-elect Donald Trump's nominee, Ben Carson, for the post.
In a statement released by Trump's transition team, Martinez, Henry Cisneros, Alphonso Jackson and Steven Preston reminded the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs that they all came to HUD with varying degrees of experience -- or lack thereof -- in the field. Carson, whose confirmation hearing is later Thursday, is a retired neurosurgeon.
"We all succeeded thanks to the help of the cadre of dedicated civil servants -- a team of respected, career leaders who have stood alongside each one of us, helping us guide the agency to succeed in its mission," the men wrote. "The singular, common piece of advice every HUD secretary is given is to listen."
Martinez served as HUD secretary from 2001-03 under President George W. Bush.
Here's the four ex-secretaries' full letter:
Dear Chairman Crapo and Ranking Member Brown:
We write today, from both sides of the political aisle, in support of Dr. Ben Carson’s nomination as Secretary for Housing and Urban Development, a position we have all held.
Some of us came in with deep housing experience while others had to learn it. We all succeeded thanks to the help of the cadre of dedicated civil servants -- a team of respected, career leaders who have stood alongside each one of us, helping us guide the agency to succeed in its mission.
The singular, common piece of advice every HUD secretary is given is to listen. It worked to help us overcome the challenges we faced, and we know Dr. Carson will heed it as well as he works to help make HUD’s mission a reality: creating strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all.
As secretary, we know that Dr. Carson will learn about what works, develop new innovations, measure outcomes, and achieve real results to improve communities throughout America.
We urge the Committee to support Dr. Carson’s confirmation.
Henry Cisneros (HUD Secretary, 1993-1997)
Sen. Mel Martinez (HUD Secretary, 2001-2003)
Alphonso Jackson (HUD Secretary, 2004-2008)
Steven Preston (HUD Secretary, 2008-2009)