Mr. Chairman, Senator Gramm, and Distinguished Senators:
It is a privilege to appear before you today as the nominee for Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And thank you Congressman Portman for your kind introduction.
I am honored that Secretary Martinez and President Bush nominated me to serve in this position, and that you are taking the time to consider my nomination.
Joining me are my husband, parents, and in-laws. As proud as I am to be here, they're pretty excited, too.
My parents came to this country from Ireland in 1959 in search of opportunities. My parents chose America on my behalf. I could not be more grateful for that choice than I am today.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's core mission is to help families find affordable decent housing and to find solutions to the housing and community development challenges in America. Creating opportunities for all Americans to become homeowners is a fundamental component of HUD's mission.
The public affairs office at HUD plays an essential role in educating the public about HUD's initiatives. If confirmed, I look forward to keeping the media and all interested parties informed on HUD's work. I believe an informed public is crucial to the democratic process and leads to better policymaking.
My career has been centered on communications, and most often on public education campaigns. As the senior vice president of communications at the Fannie Mae Foundation, I have spent the last four years developing ways to communicate the importance of homeownership and demonstrating how owning a home is a gateway to opportunity and improvement for individuals, families, and communities. It is an honor to continue to focus on these important issues.
America is now in a renaissance of homeownership. More than 70 million families own their own home. This is as high as that number has ever been, and it encourages us to spread the opportunity to even more people. In particular, I look forward to being a part of HUD's effort to reach out to America's minority communities that do not yet share in the same high level of homeownership. Secretary Martinez asserted that one of HUD's top priorities will be just that, and it will be worth the effort.
Work in the realm of housing becomes a lot more personal when we remember that it all boils down not to numbers and reports, but to a real and unmistakable impact on the lives of individuals, families, and kids. At the end of the day, HUD exists for one reason only: to make life better for people.
With your approval, my role will be to keep the public informed of this agenda as directed by the Administration.
Thank you again for this opportunity to address you today. This concludes my testimony. I am prepared to answer any questions or comments you may have.
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