I want to thank the Chairman for moving forward with this important confirmation. Housing is a foremost priority for my rural state, and I am eager to work with Secretary-designate Cuomo and the members of this committee to address this nation's housing concerns.
In my brief acquaintance with Secretary-designate Cuomo, I have been particularly impressed with his recognition of the challenges faced by rural areas. I believe Mr. Cuomo is committed to coordinating the efforts of Housing and Urban Development with that of the USDA, the Veterans Administration, and other federal agencies for the advancement of rural development and housing needs.
Mr. Cuomo also acknowledges the impact of extreme poverty on our many Indian reservations, and agrees that there is a pressing need to assess and reorganize Native American housing and development programs nationwide. There are nine federally recognized tribes in South Dakota, whose members collectively make up one of the largest Native American populations in any state. At the same time, South Dakota has three of the ten poorest counties in the nation, all of which are within reservation boundaries. Unemployment on these rural reservations averages above 50%, and housing is scarce and substandard. Yet economic depression in rural communities is not unique to my state. I believe strongly that housing is an integral and most basic component to economic development for Indian and non-Indian communities alike. I am confident that Mr. Cuomo will work to redirect past policies to ensure that the housing needs of every American are met.
I am looking forward to working with Secretary-designate Cuomo on these important priorities for my rural state, and for communities nationwide. President Clinton has made an extraordinary selection at the outset of this new term, and I enthusiastically support this nomination.
Home | Menu | Links | Info | Chairman's Page