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Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne Joins Trump Administration

Texas Mayor Beth Van Duyne announced Monday she accepted the Trump Administration position of Regional Administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Southwest Region VI.

The announcement follows much speculation the now former Irving mayor would join the administration. Based out of HUD’s Fort Worth Regional Office, Van Duyne will oversee department programs and operations for Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arkansas, and Louisiana.

Van Duyne said she was honored to serve in the position, which reports to HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson.

“I could not be more thrilled to assist Secretary Carson in HUD’s mission to improve affordable housing opportunities and bring much needed economic development to underserved areas of our nation,” Van Duyne said.

She added, “Dr. Carson will be very effective as HUD Secretary,” calling him “thoroughly committed” and a “tremendous optimist who believes in solving problems, getting results, and delivering reforms that will make positive and long-lasting improvements in people’s lives and the communities in which they live.”

Working out of the Fort Worth office will keep Van Duyne close to  home, family, and the communities she has served over a 25-year career.

“As my two wonderful children, Katie and Pierce, make their way through high school, remaining in this area was critical to my decision,” she stated.

In February, Van Duyne announced she would not seek a third term as Irving’s mayor. After Donald Trump’s White House win, Van Duyne visited Trump Tower, fueling speculation about such an appointment.

Van Duyne was Irving’s first woman mayor, elected in 2011 after serving on the city council from 2004-10 and as Deputy Mayor Pro Tem. She represented Irving with the U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, Texas Municipal League, and North Central Texas Council of Governments.

Under her leadership, Irving blossomed into an economic powerhouse, also breaking ground on its long-awaited entertainment center. Van Duyne balanced the City’s budget, increased property values, and delivered AAA ratings from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s during one of the weakest American economic periods.

Last year, Irving ranked among the top 10 safest U.S. cities with a population of over 200,000 and its unemployment rate of 3.6 percent was well below the state’s 4.6 rate and the nation’s 4.9 percent rate. The Milken Institute placed Dallas-Plano-Irving among its top five “Best Performing Cities” in 2015 and 2016. Real estate website Trulia dubbed Irving the nation’s most diversely populated zip code in 2013. Business Insider named Irving the fifth safest U.S. big city to live and Forbes identified the booming municipality as its seventh fastest growing U.S. city since the recession.

Despite impressive leadership, Van Duyne became a target for progressives who mocked her patriotism and support for law enforcement. In 2015, they pounced when the City of Irving passed an American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) resolution, a symbolic gesture to support proposed state legislation (HB 562) aimed at upholding U.S. and Texas law. They again slammed her for questioning the practices of an area Islamic tribunal using Sharia law. This January, Van Duyne asked the Texas Homeland Security Forum to investigate the tribunal’s legality. Critics also maligned her for backing Irving school officials and police in their handling of the 2015 “Clock Boy” Ahmed Mohamed “hoax bomb” incident. Fueled by slanted media coverage, Van Duyne endured an onslaught of online threats, some even advocated violence against her.

A fierce women’s rights advocate, Van Duyne recently said: “Liberals don’t have a monopoly on feminism,” noting left-wingers discount her efforts “seemingly because I am conservative, pro-life, and have the audacity to voice an opposing opinion.”

In April, IGNITE honored Van Duyne for her commitment to building political ambition in young women. In 2016, she received the National Security Patriot Award, the Alain Bellet Award, and the Great Women of Texas Award. She is a past recipient of the Community Bridge Award and the Defender of Freedom Award.

Van Duyne graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University, earning a Bachelors of Arts degree with studies in city and regional planning, government, and law.

Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.

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