WASHINGTON - Mercedes Marquez was unanimously confirmed as an Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. As the former general manager of the City of Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD), Marquez will lead HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development which administers nearly $8 billion in programs designed to stimulate community development, affordable housing, as well as a variety of special needs assistance programs.
"Mercedes brings a vast wealth of experience to HUD as she joins the front lines of our efforts to help cities and counties recover from our economic challenges," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Her leadership will be a key ingredient in transforming HUD into a forward-thinking agency that delivers quality services to people and places in need."
"I am thrilled that President Obama and Secretary Donovan are giving me the opportunity to join such an excellent team of professionals dedicated to insuring quality housing for every American," said Marquez. "More than ever, our nation's cities and counties need our support. I share Secretary Donovan's vision that as we work with our state and local partners, we must be accountable, transparent and flexible in our approach."
Marquez previously served in an advisory role at HUD, most recently as the General Manager of LAHD and as Vice-President of a national firm specializing in the development and management of urban communities. She oversaw developments throughout the Southwest and California, which included initiating new developments, coordinating the planning process, acting as liaison with joint venture partners, and interfacing with government officials and local community groups.
Marquez also served in the Clinton administration as the Senior Counsel to the Secretary and Deputy General Counsel for Civil Rights and Fair Housing for HUD. She was principal advisor to former Secretary Andrew Cuomo on civil rights policy including fair lending and fair housing enforcement, and led investigations and negotiations of housing discrimination cases resulting in landmark settlements.
Earlier in her career, Marquez was a partner at a law firm, where she specialized in complex public interest litigation including slumlord, fair housing, public housing, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, and constitutional issues cases. Marquez has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California and a J.D. and LL.M. from Georgetown University Law Center.