(Washington D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered the following remarks introducing King County Executive Ron Sims at the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing examining a number of administration nominations. Ron Sims has been nominated by President Obama to serve as Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Shelby, and Members of the Committee.
“I’m pleased to be here with my colleague Senator Cantwell today to introduce Ron Sims, the King County Executive, at this important hearing.
“I’d like to welcome Ron’s wife Cayan and family to this hearing, and I’d like to congratulate Ron on the honor of being President Obama’s nominee to serve as the next Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
“Ron and his family are no strangers to public service and I want to thank them for once again answering the call at this pivotal time in our nation’s history.
“As Chairman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, I know first-hand HUD’s important mission to support community development, increase access to affordable housing, and help house families in need.
“From those struggling families, to our nation’s veterans, HUD’s services often mean the difference between the despair of the streets and the safety and security of a home. But today, HUD faces challenges as daunting as at any other time in the agency’s nearly 45-year history as a cabinet-level agency. Millions of Americans have lost their homes to foreclosure and as unemployment continues to rise, millions more are at great risk.
“I have been reassured by the dedication and leadership shown by Secretary Donovan over the past three months, but given the magnitude of the housing crisis, Secretary Donovan cannot go it alone. And that’s why I’m so pleased that the President has tapped Ron Sims to provide his leadership and experience as Deputy Secretary at HUD.
“Throughout his 12 years as King County Executive, Ron Sims has been a strong leader for our state and the people of King County –he has faced challenges head on and has always been open to consider new, innovative policies to improve the lives of King County families. Ron has been a true pioneer in housing policy, but I’d like to focus on three examples that illustrate his readiness to immediately step in and step up to tackle HUD’s challenges.
“First, Ron knows that making progress requires making partnerships. As King County Executive, Ron has worked to build strong, diverse community partnerships that address many of the housing needs in King County. These partnerships have helped leverage the resources of the County to create thousands of new, affordable housing units and preserve and improve existing housing stock.
“Ron helped establish and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Committee to End Homelessness, a regional partnership that has helped add more than 3,000 housing units for the homeless in King County. This experience will be critical at HUD, an agency that depends on partnerships with everyone from the largest cabinet agencies to the smallest community boards to extend housing opportunities in communities across the nation.
“Another central part of HUD’s mission is the promise to provide housing to all those who need it - free from discrimination and prejudice. And as the people of King County well know, Ron Sims is an uncompromising champion of equal rights. In fact, he recently led an effort to establish the King County Equity and Social Justice Initiative that brings together community leaders to root out discrimination and improve access to education, health care and affordable housing.
“And finally, HUD will most certainly benefit from Ron’s steadfast commitment to smart community development.
“When it comes to environmental protection, expanding transit, and managing growth, Ron has always been ahead of the curve. He has worked hard on initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint of King County, expand transit service, and has been a tireless advocate for smart growth management policies that have helped establish synergies across County programs and services.
“Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee, this is a time of great challenges for HUD, but it’s also a time of great opportunity. Today we have the chance to refocus the agency’s efforts on meeting the needs of low-income families and to renew its commitment to be a lifeline for those in dire straits. Innovative ideas, strong leadership and a dedication to equality are what will move HUD in a new direction. And Ron Sims brings all the skills to help guide the way.
“I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this hearing and look forward to working with the committee as it considers this important nomination. “