President-elect Donald Trump has nominated Dr. Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon and former 2016 campaign rival, as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
"Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities," Trump said in a statement. "We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities. Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up."
Carson became an early supporter of Trump after withdrawing his presidential bid in March. He welcomed the nomination and reiterated that much work needs to be done in this area.
"I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation's housing needs are met," Carson said.
Carson, a physician and philanthropist, rose in fame and political visibility after his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2013, where he endorsed conservative values. Subsequently, he was also invited to speak at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).
Carson is known to have a conservative perspective on abortion, marriage, and evolution, and holds conservative views on economic issues including budget, taxation, regulation, minimum wages, and trade policies.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a budget of $47 billion, and assists in providing housing to around five million low-income families through various programs including vouchers and construction projects.
Carson was raised by a single mother who worked three jobs to support her family in a low-income neighborhood in Detroit. He later went on to become the youngest neurosurgeon in the country at 33 and performed many breakthrough surgeries. He is also a recipient of Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the US, and the William E. Simon Prize for Philanthropic Leadership for a lifetime of charitable initiatives, among many other awards relating to serving the disadvantaged and achievement in sciences.