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Dr. Ben Carson: 'I Had Other Significant Plans'

Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson
Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson discussed in an interview Thursday with nationally syndicated radio host Hugh Hewitt his reasons for going into government service and his goals for reforming the federal agency. (Reuters photo)

During an interview Thursday with nationally syndicated talk radio host Hugh Hewitt, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson explained that he had "other significant plans" that didn't involve serving in government, but his past experience played a role in his changing his mind.

President Donald Trump's one-time campaign rival, who later became one of his biggest advocates with both evangelical and African- American voters, told Hewitt:

Well, it's true that I had other significant plans. But you know, a number of people in the administration, including the president and the vice president, convinced me that you know, it really does require a certain sensitivity and understanding in order to accomplish what needs to be done, not only in our inner cities, but in communities throughout our nation. And as I've thought about my life and things that I've been prepared for, and you know, I used to wonder why am I getting all this business experience, you know, 18 years on the Kellogg board, 16 years on Costco's board, starting a national nonprofit, doing a multitude of other things, and I said now I can see where that would fit when you take a department that is heavy in bureaucracy and try to run it like a business. And we're going to make some very good progress there. Almost every mayor, every governor, every housing director I've talked with across the country says, "We like your programs, we like your grants, but it's almost not worthwhile, because we have so much red tape."

Carson mentioned Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, a private non-profit organization dedicated to serving adults with intellectual and related disabilities by providing vocational training, community employment, day services, advocacy, arts and social recreation, as an example of what he hopes to accomplish on a larger scale. The secretary noted participants in the program are given the opportunity to work according to their ability, receiving payment for their work, which leads to greater self-esteem.

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"These are the kinds of things that we want to do," he said. "But the best way to do these is to work with the private sector, to work with the faith community, to work with non-profits with the government being the over-arching stimulus to help direct all of this.

"You know, it's life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That's what the government is supposed to facilitate. They're not supposed to, people have gotten the idea that the government's supposed to do everything. And that's not true. It's supposed to lead and facilitate."

Click here to listen to the entire exchange.

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