Mr. Chairman, It is an honor to be a member of this committee and to be a part of this morning's important confirmation hearing for Mel Martinez to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This is my first hearing with the Banking Committee, and I am pleased that the work we are undertaking today pertains to such important issues for our country—affordable housing and the development of our urban centers.
As a Senator representing the state of Georgia these issues have great impact on areas such as Atlanta, Augusta, Macon and other metropolitan areas across my state. But they also affect rural populations, traditionally the most economically challenged in Georgia. Housing is not limited to the big cities. For example, in the suburbs of Georgia throughout the last decade we saw a decline in the number of units affordable to low-income families. Furthermore, today over one-third of households facing "worse-case" needs are in the suburbs.
Economic development initiatives are still needed greatly in Atlanta and other cities around the country. We must continue to fight urban poverty and the many social ills it brings to this nation. I believe as the nominee approaches this job, he must do so with the outlook of not serving just one sector of America, but all of America—urban and rural. I look forward to hearing your testimony, Mr. Secretary-designate, and also to your responses to the Committee's questions.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.