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Trump taps his former rival Carson as Housing Secretary

December 05, 2016 20:43 IST

United States President-elect Donald Trump on Monday nominated his primary rival and eminent neurosurgeon Dr Ben Carson as his housing and urban development secretary, making first African-American appointment to his Cabinet.

"I am thrilled to nominate Dr Ben Carson as our next secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ben Carson has a brilliant mind and is passionate about strengthening communities and families within those communities," Trump announced on Monday.

Carson is also the first former presidential aspirant to be tapped by Trump in his Cabinet.

"We have talked at length about my urban renewal agenda and our message of economic revival, very much including our inner cities," he said.

"Ben shares my optimism about the future of our country and is part of ensuring that this is a Presidency representing all Americans. He is a tough competitor and never gives up,” said Trump, who was endorsed by Carson during the later part of the primaries.

“I am honored to accept the opportunity to serve our country in the Trump administration," said Carson.

“I feel that I can make a significant contribution particularly by strengthening communities that are most in need. We have much work to do in enhancing every aspect of our nation and ensuring that our nation's housing needs are met,” said Carson, who was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1951.

While his mother lacked access to a quality education, she encouraged her sons in their scholastic pursuits and instilled the value of hard work.

Carson graduated with honors from Southwestern High School. He earned a full scholarship to Yale University and graduated in 1973 with a BA degree in psychology.

He then enrolled in the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, choosing to become a neurosurgeon.

Carson became the director of paediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital at the age of 33 and earned fame for his groundbreaking work separating conjoined twins.

Carson and his wife Candy started the Carson Scholars Fund 20 years ago, which is now active in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It has provided more than 7,300 scholarships since 1994 to students from all backgrounds that achieve at the highest academic levels and community service.

In 2000, the Library of Congress selected Carson as one of its ‘Living Legends’.

The following year, CNN and Time magazine named Carson as one of the nation’s 20 foremost physicians and scientists.

In 2006, he received the Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP.

In February 2008, President George W Bush awarded Carson the Ford’s Theatre Lincoln Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Photograph: Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Lalit K Jha
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