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Will MHI be heard in choice at HUD

Adam R.'s picture

Posted November 12, 2008

Who should be the new leader of the Department of Housing and Urban Development?  Will it be someone chosen because of their close ties to housing?  Will it be a political friend of the new President?  Will it be a person with some wherewithall in the field of manufactured housing?

The last situation would be a real stroke of luck.  Housing and Urban Development is a department with strong ties to the political traditions of America's largest cities.  That makes sense, of course.

Jesse Jackson, Jr. is one figure who might be tapped to lead HUD.  Then again, Jackson might decide that he would prefer to run for the vacant Senate seat in Illinois.

What if the person was someone apart from the urban tradition, but simultaenously drawn to looking at a broader perspective surrounding housing and housing finance?

One possibility in this vein would be a leader from the Manufactured Housing Institute.  Would Ken Cashlin or Joe Stegmayer be an appropriate choice? Or, it could be someone chosen on the friendly suggestion of MHI.  But, will MHI be in the room when the decision is made to pick the leadership that will govern its business for the next few years?

The MHI appears to have prepared for the new tone in politics.  In 2008, slightly more than half of their giving went to Democratic candidates, according to CampaignMoney.com.  That is a big difference from 2004, when only about 35 percent went to Dems.  The Dems that they supported were logical choices -- leaders on finance (Brad Miller, Paul Kanjorski, Barney Frank), heads of important committees (John Dingell, David Price, Charles Rangel) or from rural states (Max Baucus).

Still, it does not seem likely that they will be there.  They didn't give any money to Obama, or for that matter, to McCain.  Maybe they aren't worried about chasing leadership posts.