SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As a pediatric neurosurgeon, Ben Carson remembers routinely being presented with a dilemma after saving a child’s life with surgery. He was worried about discharging them from the hospital, worried they were going back to a lead-infested house.
As Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, appointed to the job by his former political opponent, President Donald Trump, Carson’s experience as a doctor helps guide his perspective on the lead problem.
Carson says, “Syracuse has a lot of aging housing. This was a significant problem here. This is a problem we can actually solve.”
In Syracuse, a staggering 11 percent of children tested for lead are positive for poisoning. While it’s worst in the City of Syracuse and in poor areas, Secretary Carson reminds the community lead affects houses in all kinds of neighborhoods.
Carson came to Syracuse at the invitation of Congressman John Katko, meeting with Katko, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, and Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon.
McMahon says that HUD has been generous to Onondaga County, but wasn’t shy reminding Carson that he’ll apply for more grants later this year.
McMahon also pitched the Syracuse area to be a pilot region when the federal government tries any new programs or policies.
McMahon says, “When you’re looking at some of the regulatory changes that can make the program run better and can help us put more money to bricks and mortar instead of administrative costs, let us be the laboratory.”
Carson says, “We also look for places where we can probably get some rapid results. This is one of those places because of the cooperative spirit that exists here and the well-defined problem.”