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Ben Carson

R

U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2017 - Present)

Quick Facts
Personal Details

Education

  • Graduated, University of Michigan School of Medicine
  • Graduated, Yale University

Professional Experience

  • Graduated, University of Michigan School of Medicine
  • Graduated, Yale University
  • Emeritus Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, present
  • Former Bank Teller
  • Former X-Ray Technician
  • Former School Bus Driver
  • Former Supervisor, Highway Cleanup Crews
  • Former Crane Operator, Steel Factory
  • Pediatric Neurosurgery Director, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, 2013
  • Co-Founder, Carson Scholars Fund, 1994

Political Experience

  • Graduated, University of Michigan School of Medicine
  • Graduated, Yale University
  • Emeritus Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, present
  • Former Bank Teller
  • Former X-Ray Technician
  • Former School Bus Driver
  • Former Supervisor, Highway Cleanup Crews
  • Former Crane Operator, Steel Factory
  • Pediatric Neurosurgery Director, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, 2013
  • Co-Founder, Carson Scholars Fund, 1994
  • Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2017-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2016
  • Nominated by President-elect Donald Trump, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, United States of America, December 5, 2016

Former Committees/Caucuses

Appointed by President George W. Bush, Member, President’s Council on Bioethics, 2004

Religious, Civic, and other Memberships

  • Graduated, University of Michigan School of Medicine
  • Graduated, Yale University
  • Emeritus Professor, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, present
  • Former Bank Teller
  • Former X-Ray Technician
  • Former School Bus Driver
  • Former Supervisor, Highway Cleanup Crews
  • Former Crane Operator, Steel Factory
  • Pediatric Neurosurgery Director, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, 2013
  • Co-Founder, Carson Scholars Fund, 1994
  • Secretary, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2017-present
  • Candidate, President of the United States, 2016
  • Nominated by President-elect Donald Trump, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, United States of America, December 5, 2016
  • Member, Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society, present
  • Member, Horatio Alger Society of Distinguished Americans, present
  • Member, Institute of Medicine/National Academy of Science, present
  • Emeritus Fellow, Yale Corporation, present
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Academy of Achievement
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Costco Wholesale Corporation
  • Former Board of Directors Member, Kellogg Company
  • Speaker, National Prayer Breakfast, 1997, 2013

Other Info

— Awards:

  • In 2001, Dr. Carson was named by CNN and TIME Magazine as one of the nation's 20 foremost physicians and scientists. That same year, he was selected by the Library of Congress as one of 89 "Living Legends."

    He is also the recipient of the 2006 Spingarn Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the NAACP. In June, 2008, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest civilian honor in the land.

Date of Wedding Anniversary:

July 6, 1975

  • Sonya Carson

— Publications:

  • Gifted Hands;
  • America the Beautiful, Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great;
  • One Nation, What We All Can Do to Save America's Future;
  • You Have a Brain: A Teen's Guide to THINK BIG;
  • The Big Picture;
  • Take the Risk: Learning to Identify, Choose and Live with Acceptable Risk;
  • One Vote: Make Your Voice Heard

Spouse's Occupation:

Violinist

Policy Positions

2016

Abortion

Do you generally support pro-choice or pro-life legislation?
- Pro-life

Budget

In order to balance the budget, do you support an income tax increase on any tax bracket?
- No

Crime

Do you support mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders?
- Unknown Position

Education

Do you support requiring states to implement education reforms in order to be eligible for competitive federal grants?
- No

Guns

Do you generally support gun-control legislation?
- No

Health Care

Do you support repealing the 2010 Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare")?
- Yes

Social Security

Do you support allowing individuals to divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into personal retirement accounts?
- Unknown Position

Economy

1. Do you support federal spending as a means of promoting economic growth?
- No

2. Do you support lowering taxes as a means of promoting economic growth?
- Yes

Immigration

Do you support requiring illegal immigrants to return to their country of origin before they are eligible for citizenship?
- Yes

National Security

Do you support targeting suspected terrorists outside of official theaters of conflict?
- Yes

Environment

Do you support the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions?
- No

Energy

1. Do you support building the Keystone XL pipeline?
- Unknown Position

2. Do you support funding for the development of renewable energy (e.g. solar, wind, thermal)?
- Unknown Position

Marriage

Do you support same-sex marriage?
- No

Speeches
Articles

The Boston Globe - A Prescription for Health Reform

Dec. 15, 2015

By Ben Carson I have spent nearly my entire adult life within the American health care system as a physician, a neurosurgeon, and the chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. I have learned that the needs of each patient are unique. Any broad government mandate, however well-intended, can cause a cascade of effects that reduce the quality of care patients receive. Obamacare has proven to be no exception to this rule. Since the implementation of Obamacare, Americans have seen health care premiums skyrocket, choices diminish, and quality of care reduced. Medicare and Medicaid enrollees have been relegated to a two-tiered health system in which doctors are harder to find and waiting periods grow longer each year. This is not a health care system worthy of the greatest nation on earth. We must repeal and replace Obamacare with a system that empowers the American people with control over their own health care. My health care plan will establish Health Empowerment Accounts, or HEAs -- a new and expanded version of Health Savings Accounts -- that will be available to anyone with a valid Social Security number. These accounts will be owned specifically by the individual and not by the government or large corporations. The accounts will also remain with the owner through job changes or state-to-state relocation. HEAs will be created for every child at birth and are freely transferable from one family member to another. This system will enable Americans to build their own health accounts and grow them through a lifetime. Combined with high-deductible major medical coverage, HEAs will ensure that all American citizens have the ability to make health care choices that meet their individual needs, while also protecting them from the potential costs of major health problems and hospitalizations. Additionally, instituting HEAs within Medicare and Medicaid will greatly reduce the financial burdens that currently threaten the long-term solvency of these services. Already, Obamacare has placed a tremendous strain on both Medicare and Medicaid. Medicare patients have seen a major reduction in the choice of doctors. For example, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has reported that almost 10,000 doctors opted out of Medicare in 2012 alone -- a figure that is triple the number in 2009. Meanwhile, Medicare has grown in an unsustainable manner, with expenditures now topping $613 billion. These costs will only continue to grow in the years ahead as people live longer and as newer, more expensive medical advances emerge. If we are to keep our promise to current and future Medicare beneficiaries, we must modernize, not eliminate, the system. Medicare must reflect the medical advances that have increased American lifespans, while empowering beneficiaries to choose which health options are best suited to their individual needs. My plan will ensure a defined, fixed contribution to the private health plan of a Medicare enrollee's choosing. If the plan's premiums are less than the fixed contribution from Medicare, the entire difference will be paid directly into the individual's HEA. Conversely, if the beneficiary chooses a private plan whose premiums are higher than Medicare's fixed contribution, the individual will be allowed to use funds from his or her HEA, tax-free. Furthermore, to keep pace with the extended average American lifespan, the age of Medicare eligibility will be increased by two months each year until it eventually reaches age 70, at which time it would be indexed to keep pace with life expectancy. These reforms will ensure that the current and future generations of seniors have a health care system that works for their needs, not the government's. Medicaid enrollees have not been spared from Obamacare's doctor shortages either. The percentage of doctors who closed their practices to Medicare or Medicaid patients increased almost 50 percent between 2008 and 2012. Instead of Obamacare's parallel, two-tiered system that channels low-income persons into substandard traditional Medicaid, my plan creates a bridge that will enable enrollees to obtain the same private health insurance that other Americans enjoy, with the same choice of doctors and hospitals. Medicaid will provide fixed-dollar support to the states, which must use the funds for insurance premium payments and to seed HEAs for the enrollees. By expanding HEAs and high-deductible major medical coverage, my plan returns money and decision-making where it belongs -- to the hands of American patients and their doctors. Consumers will have more choices, lower costs, and a higher quality of care. At the same time, Medicare and Medicaid enrollees will have equal access to the same doctors and hospitals as the rest of the population. My plan puts faith in the American people, not a massive, faceless bureaucracy.

Samoa News - Op-Ed: Restoring Equality and Fairness to Our Fellow Americans in the Territories and Commonwealths

Dec. 5, 2015

By Dr. Ben Carson Many Americans do not appreciate the patriotism exhibited by our brothers and sisters in the Territories of American Samoa, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and in the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands. Year after year, you send more of your sons and daughters per capita into the U.S. Armed Services than any of the 50 states. I stand in awe of this commitment and thank you for your service to our country. All of the Territories and Commonwealths, especially those in the Pacific, are vitally important to our national security due to your positions as our first defense against potential encroachment by foreign powers. We often lose sight of the fact that the U.S. government treats you as second-class citizens, despite your service and status as American citizens. Whether intentionally or accidentally, we have not stood by you as much as you have stood by us. The government has negotiated trade agreements without your input, enacted labor policies that are crushing your economies, debated immigration protocol without considering how it would affect your communities, and yet we as a nation continue to demand more of you. I am saddened to hear that every day, more and more of you in the Territories and Commonwealths are leaving your families and homes because the healthcare and educational systems are inadequate. It is unfortunate that your economic opportunities continue to be decimated by policies imposed by politicians far away in Washington. Medical care in the American Territories and Commonwealths has historically lagged far behind the continental states, and Obamacare has only made the situation worse. Good health is an essential part of a thriving society and economy, and citizens of the Territories and Commonwealths deserve policies that work. More must be done to fix the broken healthcare systems. I pledge to you that if I am honored to earn your vote during the presidential primary process and am elected to serve, I will restore equality and fairness to the citizens of the Territories and Commonwealths. I will work to implement the following initiatives: I will appoint a Territory and Commonwealth Advisory Committee (TCAC) consisting of representatives from American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The TCAC will be integrated into my Presidential Transition Team, and be tasked with performing a holistic review of all federal regulations affecting the Territories and Commonwealths. Once sworn into office, I will appoint a Special Assistant to the President responsible for day-to-day interaction with the Territories and Commonwealths. I am confident that the TCAC will develop a comprehensive plan outlining actions to be immediately taken through the Executive branch, as well as a blueprint for legislation that my administration will actively pursue through Congress. I would also work hand in hand with Congresswoman Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen to enact the following measures immediately: I would strongly support relief from Cabotage restrictions. While the original intent of the Jones Act and Cabotage was to protect American companies, today the law keeps families separated and hampers already weakened economies. I find it appalling that one airline connects Hawaii to Pago Pago only twice a week and costs around $1,400 round trip. Meanwhile six airlines service a similarly distant route--Hawaii from Las Vegas--for around $600. Concrete connections between the Territories and the Commonwealths are impossible under these federally imposed conditions. While I am generally a strong proponent of free and open trade, I am concerned about the negative effect the Trans Pacific Partnership would have on American Samoa's economy, specifically the fisheries industry. The Obama administration, supported by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, negotiated the agreement that would phase out duties on canned tuna imports to the United States. The net result would be an increase in foreign competition to one of American Samoa's most important industries. As American Samoa is its own Customs Territory and is not party to trade agreements signed by Washington, it will end up incurring the cost of Washington's trade concessions without benefiting from reciprocity accorded to the Mainland by other TPP members. This is just the latest of a long list of examples of Washington politicians passing laws and regulations with little thought as to how it affects the Territories and Commonwealths. It is imperative that you have a voice in all major policies advanced by Washington. I fully understand that decades of unfairness cannot be undone overnight, but I am confident that by working with our brothers and sisters in our Territories and Commonwealths, we can restore equality and revive the economies and spirit of these beautiful islands.

Time - Ben Carson: The U.S. Must Not Accept Any Syrian Refugees

Nov. 17, 2015

By Dr. Ben Carson The carnage in Paris last Friday reminded us all of the evil of Islamic extremism. President Barack Obama has promised to "bring these terrorists to justice." Yet his administration appears altogether oblivious to the threat posed by an influx of refugees from war-torn Syria into the U.S. homeland. Furthermore, in the war against Islamic extremism, the President cannot even bring himself to confront the enemy by its name. This Monday, I sent letters to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan urging Congress to terminate all public funding for ongoing federal programs that seek to resettle refugees from Syria into the U.S. I also call on the American people to stop viewing Islamic extremism through the lens of political correctness. We now know that several teams of ISIS terrorist attacked six different locations in Paris, killing at least 132 people and wounding hundreds more. We have also learned that one of the terrorists responsible for this grotesque attack may have left Syria posing as a migrant and was able to gain safe entry to France, Belgium and perhaps other central European countries. Given the tragedy in Paris last Friday, the U.S. simply cannot, should not and must not accept any Syrian refugees. Unfortunately, the Obama administration has pledged that the U.S. would accept an additional 45,000 new refugees, mostly from Syria, from 2016 to 2017. This must not happen. Instead of half talk and feel-good promises, the U.S. must defend itself with sound security measures. Paris offers a bloody reminder that we must not be afraid to confront those who harbor the jihadist views that have spread violence and hatred around the world. Although President Obama and presidential candidates from the Democratic Party prefer to describe radical Islam as just a form of extremism, the rest of us should remember that jihadists who have spilled blood on our soil before and must never be allowed to do so again. If we thought Islamic extremism is a phenomenon reserved for foreign lands, terrorists have made sure to expose our naiveté. From London to Paris, Sydney to Madrid, Fort Hood to Chattanooga, radical Islamists and their lone wolf followers have inflicted their savagery across the civilized world. Paris now offers the latest gruesome reminder of radical Islam's barbarism. Given this troubling reality, and given the bloodbaths that have been perpetrated in the name of Islam in the modern era, I announced a few months ago that I personally would not support having a Muslim president in the White House if he or she had not renounced Islamic extremism, Sharia law or the tenets and practices of Islam that are in conflict with the Constitution. Certainly, not every Muslim subscribes to jihadist ideology. Throughout my career, I have worked with superb Muslim Americans. Many more have served America honorably by joining the U.S. military, fighting for America overseas, working with federal and local law enforcement to combat radicalization in their own communities and publicly denouncing the violent or misogynist teachings of radical Islamists. For their decency and courage, we should be grateful. Unfortunately, their own communities have often viciously vilified them as heretics and infidels. The reality is that the threat of radical Islam and the corrosive influence of Sharia law here in the U.S. is not just a figment of our imagination. The U.S. must defend itself by preventing the infiltration of terrorists who pose as refugees to enter our land. To do anything less is foolish.