Chairman D'Amato, Senator Sarbanes, members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. I would first like to thank Senator Lautenberg for his gracious introduction. I also wish to acknowledge both Senator Lautenberg and Senator Torricelli from my home state of New Jersey for their support and friendship over the past years.
I am honored to have been nominated by President Clinton, with the confidence and support of Secretary Cuomo, to be HUD's Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. I also hold it as an honor to be nominated to a position previously held by Saul Ramirez and Secretary Cuomo. It will be a challenge to equal the level of commitment and energy that both of these gentlemen have brought to the office. I rise to meet this challenge with both vision and courage.
I would like to introduce my wife Sandy who is here with me today-and, by the way, she is a native New Yorker, Mr. Chairman. My two daughters, Tiffane, who will be 13 years old next month, and Dana, who just turned I I last week, could not join me today because my wife and I respect and value their education and decided not to let them skip school, despite the grand occasion. I would like to acknowledge my entire family's constant love, patience, and support that they give me.
As a young boy raised in the inner city of Newark, New Jersey, I lived in and saw first-hand the social ills that plagued and continue to plague our urban communities. I was one of I I boys in my family and learned early on the meaning of responsibility and taking care of your family.
As a former Mayor, County Administrator, and a Human Services Department Director, I know first hand the difficulties associated with improving the quality of life and transforming neighborhoods. While it takes economic resources to achieve positive results, it also takes partnerships at all levels of government and the private sector involvement for placing urban, rural, large and small communities on the road to recovery. Although there are many disappointments along the journey, I can attest to the need to persevere and continue to rise to the challenge of empowering and revitalizing our communities.
My past experiences as a public servant have provided me with an understanding of and appreciation for the different players in the policy making process. I understand as a former Mayor, elected and appointed County official and local Business Administrator the roles and relationships of the President, Congress, State and Local Governments, and Interest Groups and how to balance those interests while carrying out the mission of organizational goals. Having served as a County Legislator, I have a grasp of the legislative perspective and understand the responsibility to communicate effectively with the legislative branches of government. My appointment to the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority by then-Governor Jim Florio, which I served into the early term of Governor Christine Todd-Whitman, allowed me to work with two different administrations. My experience as both a member of the National League of
Cities and an Executive Board member of the U.S. Conference of Mayors provided me with an even broader, national perspective as well as an understanding of the myriad of problems that large cities and small rural communities struggle with throughout our nation.
As a HUD Senior Advisor to Secretary Cuomo since May of this year, I have had the opportunity to take a much closer look at the agency's operations, mission, and legislative intent and will. As the nominee for Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, I am committed to ensuring CPD functions more efficiently and effectively. From a Mayoral perspective, cities often don't have the necessary resources to implement the kind of revitalization initiatives that it would like to undertake. I am committed to ensuring that CPD be better partners with this country's communities by being responsive to their needs, helping them maximize resources, providing the necessary technical assistance, and helping them on the front end of initiatives as opposed to merely monitoring activities. These action steps are in alignment with Secretary Cuomo's overall mission for HUD: To Empower Communities and Restore the Public Trust. I am confident that this mission is the key to revitalizing our cities and our nation.
Mr. Chairman, during the long course of my experience as a public servant, I have had the opportunity and responsibility to work on issues and develop sound principles for providing vision, direction and implementation of services for various segments of the population. As a leader, my experience has helped me bring people together to meet the goals and objectives of the organization. In addition, I have taken the lead in developing and implementing the policy which sets the standards for leadership, creativity, motivation and integrity often under adverse conditions.
I understand that the position of Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development
carries a heavy responsibility-the responsibility of improving the quality of life of citizens and
transforming our communities. With the approval and consent of this great Committee, and
confirmation by the full Senate, I would be honored to join Secretary Cuomo and the other
people at this table and HUD in that effort.
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