Gerald R. Ford photo

Remarks at the Swearing In of Carla A. Hills as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

March 10, 1975

Carla, Rod Hills, Mr. Justice White, members of the Cabinet, Members of Congress, the Hills family, and distinguished guests:

I am in very good company in welcoming Carla into the Cabinet as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carla, Mr. Justice White--who is about to administer the oath--HUD Under Secretary Jim Mitchell, and I are all graduates of the Yale Law School.

Maybe I better not say that too loudly. I can imagine a dozen other prospects starting to practice "The Whiffenpoof Song." [Laughter]

The job facing the new Secretary, of course, is an immense responsibility. She assumes this great responsibility of administering this important department at a time of recession in the housing industry. However, she has the unique skills and dedication which are vital in helping us move through a very difficult time in the productivity and the vitality in the housing and urban development areas.

Carla has a tough act to follow. Her very capable predecessor at HUD, Jim Lynn, was instrumental in achieving, with the Members of Congress, passage of the historic Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, which I was privileged to sign into law last August. One of Carla's major jobs will be to implement this massive and, I believe, progressive program.

Incidentally, Carla's budget for fiscal year 1976 will be $7.1 billion. That is $1.6 billion more than was given to her predecessor Jim Lynn. Now, if that does not dispose of male chauvinism, nothing will. [Laughter]

Senator Sparkman, who in the last Congress was chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, calls this act the most significant in the field of housing legislation since 1934. It will be of tremendous value in restoring our locally elected officials' decisionmaking authority in the housing and community development fields and in broadening the opportunities for individual home ownership.

Restoration of the housing market is imperative. I am convinced that our new Cabinet officer is equal to that difficult challenge and others which will confront her.

She is a distinguished attorney and author and has served us mostly ably as Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice. She earned unanimous praise for her administrative ability as well as her legal talents. Her intellectual credentials have been demonstrated by her achievements in professional and civic affairs.

Of course, Carla will not be alone in the task facing her--spending all of that money. She has an excellent department to work with at HUD. And I am completely optimistic about the future of that agency under her leadership.

So, from this moment on, let me make one final suggestion. If you have any questions, any problems, or any concerns about housing and urban development, don't come to me--head for the Hills. [Laughter]

Carla, we welcome you aboard, and Mr. Justice White will now proceed with the administering of the oath.

Note: The President spoke at 12:07 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. Byron R. White, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, administered the oath of office.

Secretary Hills' response to the President's remarks is printed in the Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents (vol. 11, p. 259).

Gerald R. Ford, Remarks at the Swearing In of Carla A. Hills as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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