Watt, another son of the South raised from modest beginnings, became a 1967 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As a result of having the highest academic average in its business school, he also became president of the business honors fraternity. Three years later, he earned a JD degree from Yale University Law School and was a published member of the Yale Law Journal.
Both men’s lives are proof that difficulty need not defeat a person’s dreams or goals. And further, what may appear improbable is not the same thing as being impossible.
On learning of Rep. Watt’s nomination, North Carolina U.S. Senator Richard Burr reached across the chamber’s partisan divide to offer his hopes for confirmation saying, “Having served with Mel, I know of his commitment to sustainable federal housing programs and am confident he will work hard to protect taxpayers from future exposure to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I look forward to working with Rep. Watt in his new role to find new ways to facilitate more private sector involvement in the housing and mortgage markets.”
Another U.S. Senator and chair of the chamber’s banking committee, South Dakota’s Sen. Tim Johnson, said, “Mel possesses the intelligence, temperament and depth of knowledge on housing finance policy necessary to succeed as Director.”
For communities of color that lost a trillion dollars in wealth during the housing crisis, we share an important stake in Rep. Watt’s nomination. It is an opportunity for an accomplished African-American to develop consumer-focused policy and implement rules to better serve all of America’s people.
(Charlene Crowell is a communications manager with the Center for Responsible Lending. She can be reached at: Charlene.email@example.com.)
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