Henry Cisneros

Henry Cisneros brought to the Feb. 14 NPC Luncheon a text heavy in history as he defended the role of the federal government-- currently the beleaguered Housing and Urban Development Department he heads--in dealing with the blighted cores of U.S. cities. Using FDR's Depression-era "I see one-third of a nation ill-housed" cry as his pivot, he drew similar earlier support from Madison, Lincoln and Daniel Webster. Then he moved forward in time to quote the post WW II "Mr. Republican," Sen. Robert Taft, and a GOP colleague, Sen. Jacob Javits, along with LBJ, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy. At one point he included lines from Aeschylus, identified as "RFK's favorite poet." On the operational level he conceded that in HUD's 30 years "serious mistakes" of both policy and method were made. But he singled out the home loan record of the FHA as a major achievement in government aid to individuals. He also promised benefits from a rental voucher program that will give public housing clients the "freedom to choose where they live". National Press Club Record, Volume XLV, No. 7. February 23, 1995.

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