A Sit-Down With Shaun Donovan, Obama’s HUD Pick

The Observer sat down with Shaun Donovan, President-elect Obama’s nominee to be secretary of Housing and Urban Development, in August 2007 to discuss Mr. Donovan’s affordable-housing goals as the city’s commissioner of Housing Preservation and Development. The interview also touched on tax incentives for developers and on the Bloomberg administration’s 25-year growth plan.

The 42-year-old Mr. Donovan, who looks in person a lot younger than that, would enter HUD’s top spot with an unusual qualification: He’s, well, qualified and not merely politically connected. As my colleague Eliot Brown pointed out on Saturday morning, shortly after the president-elect announced the nomination:

The HUD secretary position has long gone to household political names, and alums of the position include former Representative Jack Kemp, who was Bob Dole’s running mate for president in 1996: Henry Cisneros, the former mayor of San Antonio; Andrew Cuomo, the now-attorney general of New York who served at the end of the Clinton era; and Senator Mel Martinez, who was a fundraiser for George W. Bush and ran unsuccessfully for lieutenant governor of Florida.