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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Bush Nominates New HUD Secretary

Aired December 12, 2003 - 14:38   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: We're going to take you straight to the White House now. The president getting ready to announce his nomination of the current No. 2 at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Alphonso Jackson, to replace Mel Martinez as the next HUD secretary.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He's an experienced executive in the public and private sectors, a man who knows the issues facing HUD and knows how to get things done.

I can tell you from personal experience that Alphonso is a man of great integrity and compassion. We used to live in the same neighborhood in Dallas.

(LAUGHTER)

I used to drop by for an occasional cup of coffee, sometimes unannounced.

(LAUGHTER)

I'm pleased that he has agreed to join my Cabinet.

I'm also grateful to former Secretary Martinez, Mel Martinez, for his outstanding leadership of HUD over the past three years.

(APPLAUSE)

These have been years of important progress for the department, for its mission and for the families across America that benefit from its good work.

Over the last three years, home ownership in America has reached its highest level ever. And in the last 18 months, more than a million minority citizens have become homeowners.

As leader of HUD, Mel has repaid my confidence many times over. He is a good man and a good friend.

And I thank him for his service to our nation, and I wish Mel and Kitty all the very best.

(APPLAUSE)

With the Senate's approval, Mel Martinez will be succeeded by another man who understands the struggles and hopes of urban America.

Alphonso Jackson grew up in a family with 12 children, a housing challenge unto itself.

(LAUGHTER)

His dad Arthur (ph) worked three jobs, educated his children, and instilled the values that have carried his son far in life. These values and experiences have also shaped the priorities Alphonso brings to his new assignment.

He believes, as I do, that home ownership is a source of stability for our communities and a source of dignity for our families.

He believes our government can provide effective help to our fellow citizens who are homeless. And he has seen how entire neighborhoods can turn themselves around with strong local leadership and the help of our federal government.

Alphonso is just the man to carry on the work of compassionate conservatism in America's cities.

Laura and I have known Alphonso and Marcia (ph) for many years. They're close friends.

And I appreciate you coming, Marcia (ph).

I also want to welcome the other members of your family who are here.

Alphonso is a friend and he's one of the most experienced and respected authorities on housing policy in America. He will be a superb secretary of housing and urban development.

I want to thank you for accepting this assignment and congratulate you, my friend.

PHILLIPS: The president of the United States announcing his new appointment there to replace Mel Martinez, the next HUD secretary. You're looking at him right there, Alphonso Jackson. Jackson is a former president of the Dallas Housing Authority, came to know Mr. Bush during his days as Texas governor.

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