Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama
 

Rep. Sewell Welcomes HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge to Birmingham

Aug 11, 2021
Press Release

Birmingham, AL – Today, U.S. Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) joined Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin and Birmingham Housing Authority President David Northern, Sr. in welcoming Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge to Birmingham, Alabama. The visit was intended to promote the Biden-Harris Administration’s Build Back Better agenda which includes historic investments in housing construction and rehabilitation, economic development, and community revitalization.

The visit began with a tour of the Villas at Titusville, a newly redeveloped affordable housing community in Birmingham, where Sec. Fudge and Rep. Sewell highlighted President Biden’s plan to build or preserve more than 2 million affordable and sustainable homes nationwide. Such a plan would drive down the costs of housing by dramatically expanding the country’s supply of affordable housing.

Next, Rep. Sewell joined Sec. Fudge for a tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute to share a glimpse of Birmingham’s rich civil rights history. This was followed by a roundtable on affordable housing and community revitalization with state and local officials.

The visit concluded with a tour of Southtown Court public housing community.

Rep. Sewell’s remarks from this morning’s press conference are included below:

Good morning Birmingham! What a glorious day to welcome the Secretary of Housing and Development, my dear friend and former colleague Marcia Fudge, the 18th Secretary of HUD, to our wonderful city!

I am proud to host my friend and colleague in today’s tour and visit throughout Birmingham so that she can see how far we’ve come. As Secretary, she just toured the villas right here in Titusville and we are very proud of this new development. 

But as Mayor Woodfin said and we all know, there’s still much work to be done right here in Birmingham and we could use more federal resources to do that work!

As the only member of Alabama’s Congressional Delegation to vote in favor of the American Rescue Plan, here’s what I know for a fact. I know that the people I represent need as much assistance as possible to thrive on the other end of this pandemic.

I’ve heard them. Mayor Woodfin has heard them, and the Biden Administration has heard them and that is why I am happy to stand here with Secretary Fudge and say that MORE HELP IS ON THE WAY! 

That means more money. 

As we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, President Biden, his cabinet, and Congressional Democrats have laid out a bold vision for our nation -- one that will help us not just return to the way things were, but instead to Build Back Better, stronger, and more EQUITABLY than before.

As President Biden said himself, the best way to grow our economy is from the bottom up and the middle out, and that’s EXACTLY what we’re doing with the American Rescue Plan resources. 

The City of Birmingham Alabama received 140 million dollars from the American Rescue Plan and I know that the Mayor and the City Council are hard at work making sure that those resources are there for the citizens of Birmingham to build back better. 

It will make our lives much better and more affordable housing is one of the tenants of the American Rescue Plan. 

So what does this mean for Alabama’s 7th Congressional District? 

Here in the 7th district, we’re tough. I’ve often said that what we lack in economic resources, we more than make up in a resilient spirit and hard work ethic and in making sure that we work together for our community.  We know that we’ve had systemic DIS-INVESTMENT that has prevented too many of our people from reaching their full potential.

We know that issues like pollution and lack of affordable, quality housing have really set us back. But we also know what’s possible. We see it right at this site. We will see it later at Southtown and the redevelopment that will go on with that as well. 

But we have a historic opportunity with the American Rescue Plan and this Administration to Build Back Better than before and we must seize this opportunity. 

I’m so proud to join with Secretary Fudge, President Biden, and Congressional Democrats as we finally address these long-standing disparities that exist. The pandemic has only laid bare those disparities. Those disparities exist not only in housing, in healthcare, but in environmental injustice. 

And we know that with more resources we can not only build back better housing but build back more efficient and green housing and in doing so save our planet and be more efficient and provide very good, high-paying jobs for our community. 

The Build Back Better agenda would build or preserve more than 2 million affordable and sustainable homes and would drive down the costs of housing by dramatically expanding our supply of affordable housing.

I also want to say that we’re not just doing the talk, we're doing the walk. 

If you all turned on your televisions this morning you realize that Senate Democrats did pass a 3.5 trillion dollar blueprint that will usher in not only the American Rescue Plan but Biden’s American Jobs Plan and yes, American Family Plan as well. So we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and not just talking the talk but doing the walk. 

I’m also excited about the infrastructure package that passed through the Senate last night. It will include historic investments in Alabama. 

It includes $5.2 billion in fixing Alabama’s highways. $225 million to repair and replace our failing bridges. And it would invest at least $100 million dollars for broadband. 

If there’s anything that we’ve realized during this pandemic, it’s that the systemic disinvestment in infrastructure has been a huge disadvantage for communities of color and for low income families. No more. Help is on the way. Help is here. And more help is also on the way. 

I’m excited also that in the infrastructure package we were able to put the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater resources in America’s history. 

So I’m excited to roll those out and look forward to coming back and telling my constituents not only did we do it but we did it well and that Alabama, Birmingham, will not only thrive through this pandemic but also come back and build back better. 

Now I get the honor of introducing my friend and former colleague. 

As was said, Marcia Fudge brings a unique perspective to being the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. She was the first female and first African American Mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio!

She understands very much not only the importance of local government and the needs of local government, but she understands and fights for and did fight for over a decade as the Congresswoman for the 11th District of Ohio. 

It was an honor to serve with Marcia when she was the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Throughout her career, Secretary Fudge has been a fierce advocate for low-income families, seniors, and communities across the country. During this challenging time in our nation’s history, there is no one better suited to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development than Secretary Fudge. 

As we have seen today in the Titusville community, the work of this agency makes a tremendous difference in the lives of so many of our families. 

But Secretary Fudge is not new to this work. Her foray into electoral politics began in 1999 when she was elected the first female and first African American Mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio. Among her many accomplishments as Mayor, Secretary Fudge adopted one of the first vacant and abandoned property ordinances in the state and helped to combat predatory lending. She also helped to address the city’s growing foreclosure crisis and prioritized improving the City’s tax base and expanded opportunities for affordable housing.

I am very excited, with no further ado, to introduce the 18th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, none other than the distinguished Marcia Fudge!

Background

Today’s events follow two significant milestones in the rollout of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda and the fight to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate passed President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill, a bipartisan agreement to make the largest long-term investment in our country’s infrastructure and competitiveness in nearly a century. This investment will grow the economy, create good jobs, enhance our competitiveness, and make our economy more sustainable, resilient, and equitable. 

Among its many provisions:

  • Alabama would expect to receive $5.2 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $225 million for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.
  • Alabama would receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state.
  • The bill makes the largest investment in clean drinking water and wastewater infrastructure in American history, replacing all of the nation’s lead pipes and delivering clean water to millions of families.

This morning, the Senate also passed a budget resolution paving the way for congressional Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package which is expected to include additional programs to drive down costs for hard-working families, expand access to health care, and invest in affordable housing and climate resiliency.