San Francisco – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined HUD Secretary Marica L. Fudge, Mayor London Breed and Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis at the HOPE SF, Sunnydale Site for a press event highlighting critical provisions in the Build Back Better Act that tackle housing equity. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Madam Mayor, it’s always a joy to be with you while we’re talking about low-income housing, affordable housing, public housing and the rest, and to hear you speak from your own personal experience about it. But, my friends, Madam Secretary, Madam Lieutenant Governor, elected officials who are here – those of us who have been with the Mayor within a community event know that no matter what this subject is, whether we’re at gun safety events – the Mayor speaks from her experience growing up in public housing and the need for us to address that matter. When we’re giving out food to the poor, the Mayor knows what it means for people to be hungry because of her experience in growing up – the list goes on, for talking about health care from her experience so that we’re meeting the needs of those who need the help the most. And it’s just a beautiful, inspiring experience to hear her speak about it because it’s the continuum of concerns – housing central to it.
‘When I was hungry, you fed me. When I was homeless, you gave me shelter. When I was naked, you clothed me.’ All of those things in the Gospel of Matthew, the Mayor brings to the experience. Madam Mayor, thank you for your tremendous leadership and how that experience has benefited so many people.
And just viewing this project at Sunnydale, it’s about respect. Respect for the tenants – they are the VIPs. We’re here to speak, but they are the VIPs, whose needs we’re here to meet and to meet in a way that is respectful and recognizes that some families are multi-generation – grandparents, family, children – and therefore three bedroom, access to bathrooms for, just accessible in every way.
And that’s – I say this because it is a model for the country. It is a model for the country to see how San Francisco deals with this. And sometimes when we’ve been at Alice Griffith and other openings or groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings, every step of the way, to see how – what it does for people, to see that they are treated with respect by housing that meets their needs in a way that they had some say in putting together and everything that goes with it. Whether it’s a community center or whatever else – a model to the nation.
And that’s why it’s such a treat to have our Secretary here today. Because she understands this full well, from her whole career, her whole career in public service, at the local level, whether it was dealing with foreclosures or mortgage access or abandoned buildings. Every aspect of housing that is challenged for people, that is challenging for people.
In the Congress of the United States, a Member of the Agriculture Committee. That sounds rural, and she understands rural needs, but it’s about food in the cities. And that’s why Shirley Chisholm wanted to be on the Ag Committee. And that’s why our distinguished Madam Secretary served us so well there for all aspects of our communities, including urban needs related to housing and the continuum of meeting needs.
And then, she also served on the Education and Labor Committee, where we’re talking about the education of our children. And the Mayor knows full well how the dignity kids have going to school when they can bring their friends home and feel proud, and feel proud.
And she also served – and this is very important right now, all of it is, but this is timely, this week, something will come up next week in the Senate on this. She led the effort in the House of Representatives to bring to the – to take testimony and bring to the Floor of the House, the voting protection act bills that are there. The [John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act] that we had written last year for this year, but her role was in the Voter Protection Act, to remove obstacles of participation to the vote for people of color for people in lower income neighborhoods, because that was the assault that was being made on the vote in our country.
So, in her experience, whether it’s, whether it was, again, the fundamental respect for people to be able to have the vote and have their vote respected, whether it was the housing that – in which they lived, as she now is Madam Secretary, but throughout her career has been a champion on this. She brings that experience of to the Secretary’s office. And again, Madam Secretary, we’re honored to have you here.
We’re very proud of the fact that California – and I want to salute our Lieutenant Governor, because of her experience in terms of housing as well – California has figured out a way to make use of every public policy option, whether it’s tax code, low income housing tax credits, bonds, whether it’s the ever-popular appropriations process to dip into that, or whether it’s policy matters that make a difference in timing and the rest for, for us to meet the needs of the people.
We’re now in the process of debating the Build Back Better. President Biden has said, ‘I want to support everything we can do in a bipartisan way’ – and that’s one bill that was written – ‘but I will not confine my vision for America to what can be done in that way.’ We have much more that needs to be done. And now, as we are in that debate, we’re debating what will be contained in the housing aspects of that.
We couldn’t be better served than by the Biden Administration’s great Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Remember, not just House – HUD, Housing and Urban Development, which involves so many aspects of meeting the needs of the American people.
So, it is my honor to thank everyone. Doug, of course, Mr. Blackwell and our President of the Board and Joaquin and the State Senator and Malia, as well as our Lieutenant Governor. Thank you, Doug, for your – Doug Shoemaker, for your lead, and Mr. Blackwell as well. And so many others who made this day – are making this day possible.
But now I have the great honor of bringing to the podium, my friend. I served with her for more than 20 years in the Congress of the United States. I saw firsthand – her leadership and her judgment that she has about these issues serves our country well, but more importantly for us today, appreciates what is happening here in San Francisco.
Madam Secretary, Madam Secretary Marcia Fudge.
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