Maintaining an (almost) perfect recording of voting against Trump Administration Cabinet nominees, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D) and Kamala Harris (D) voted nay to the confirmation of Dr. Benjamin Carson as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and of Richard Perry as Secretary of the Department of Energy.
Both were confirmed anyway.
The vote for Carson was 58 to 41 with one not voting (Johnny Isakson (R) of Georgia). The vote for Perry was 62 to 37 with one not voting (Isakson again).
Feinstein’s statement opposing Carson
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today [Wednesday, March 1] voted against Dr. Ben Carson as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Feinstein released the following statement:
“California is home to 20 percent of our nation’s homeless population—more than 115,000 people. Our state is struggling to reduce homelessness among individuals and families, and the shortage of affordable housing has reached crisis levels.
“The federal government plays an important role in addressing these challenges, and I don’t believe Dr. Ben Carson has the knowledge or skills to tackle them as HUD Secretary. He has never served in government and has no background in housing policy.
“Dr. Carson has also been critical of policies to counteract segregation in our communities and made disparaging statements about LGBT Americans. He is simply not the right person for this key position.”
Senator Harris issued no statement on the Carson nomination.
Feinstein’s statement opposing Perry
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today [Thursday, March 2] released the following statement in opposition to Texas Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of Energy:
“The Secretary of Energy must be an ardent defender of scientific integrity, a champion for nuclear nonproliferation efforts and an effective steward of our nuclear weapons stockpiles. And there is no question that Secretaries Moniz and Chu left big shoes for the next secretary to fill. Though every Energy Secretary doesn’t need to be a brilliant physicist to succeed, the Energy Department deserves a chief executive who genuinely cares about shaping our nation’s energy policy and overseeing our nuclear arsenal. Governor Perry has not shown the knowledge or commitment to fulfill these vital roles.
“I’m particularly concerned with Governor Perry’s past comments on climate change. While he admitted ‘the climate is changing’ during his confirmation hearing, I believe he’ll do too little to address the problem if confirmed.
“The department is also engaged in a nearly trillion dollar modernization program for our nuclear arsenal, which will require strong leadership to control costs and ensure it focuses exclusively on maintaining deterrence. I have serious doubts Governor Perry is prepared to stand up against pressures to develop new nuclear weapons or resume nuclear testing.
“Due to his lack of knowledge on nuclear issues, combined with his skepticism of the established science concerning climate change, I oppose Governor Perry’s confirmation.”
Senator Harris issued no statement on the Perry nomination.
HUD news release on swearing in of Ben Carson
Dr. Ben S. Carson, Sr. was sworn in today as the 17th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Vice President Mike Pence administered the oath of office with Secretary Carson’s wife Candy and granddaughter Tesora holding the bible. Secretary Carson will now lead a cabinet agency with approximately 8,000 employees and an annual budget totaling more than $40 billion.
Among his first actions in his new role, Secretary Carson plans an ambitious listening tour of select communities and HUD field offices around the country, beginning in his native Detroit.
“I am immensely grateful and deeply humbled to take on such an important role in service to the American people,” said Secretary Carson. “Working directly with patients and their families for many years taught me that there is a deep relationship between health and housing. I learned that it’s difficult for a child to realize their dreams if he or she doesn’t have a proper place to live, and I’ve seen firsthand how poor housing conditions can rob a person of their potential. I am excited to roll up my sleeves and to get to work.”
For nearly 30 years, Secretary Carson served as Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, a position he assumed when he was just 33 years old, making him the youngest major division director in the hospital’s history. Dr. Carson received dozens of honors and awards in recognition of his achievements including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. He is also a recipient of the Spingarn Medal, which is the highest honor bestowed by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
Dr. Carson has written nine books, four of which were co-authored with Candy Carson, his wife of 41 years. Together, they co-founded the Carson Scholars Fund, which celebrates young people of all backgrounds for exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments. The Fund has recognized more than 7,300 scholars, awarded more than seven million dollars in scholarships, and installed more than 150 Ben Carson Reading Rooms throughout the United States.
Born to a single mother with a 3rd grade education who worked multiple jobs to support their family, Secretary Carson was raised to love reading and education. He graduated from Yale University and earned his M.D. from the University of Michigan Medical School. He and his wife are the proud parents of three adult sons and three grandchildren.
DOE news release on swearing in of Rick Perry
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry was sworn in on March 2, 2017, as the 14th Secretary of the United States Department of Energy.
“It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Energy. As Secretary, I will advocate and promote American energy in all forms. America has been blessed with vast natural resources and the technology to utilize them. I am committed to helping provide stable, reliable, affordable, and secure sources of American energy. An American first energy strategy is important to create jobs and grow the economy.
“I am also committed to maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear deterrent while reducing the threat of nuclear proliferation. We will also continue the important mission of carrying out the environmental clean-up from the Cold War nuclear mission,” said Secretary Perry.
“I have a long record of aggressively courting leading scientific minds to set forth innovation, solutions, and job creation strategies. Our scientists and labs are the envy of the world, and I am a major proponent of maintaining American leadership in the area of scientific inquiry.”
During Perry’s 14 years as Governor, he proved economic growth and increased energy production can be accomplished alongside caring for the environment. During his tenure, Texas created 2.2 million jobs. Texas led the nation in energy production — not just in oil and gas, but also in wind energy. Texas now produces more wind energy than all but six countries in the world.
Under his leadership, Texas reduced its carbon footprint by 17%, reduced sulfur dioxide by 56%, and nitrogen oxide by 66%. Despite having a rapidly growing population and one of the largest petrochemical refining industries in the world, Texas saw its air quality improve.
Perry brings the executive experience and management skills honed during his time as governor to the leadership of the Department of Energy.
Perry is a veteran of the United States Air Force. He married his childhood sweetheart, Anita, in 1982. They have two children and two granddaughters.