Kanovsky, Kovar and Trasvina sworn in as HUD assistant secretariesMortgagePress.comHelen Kanovsky, Peter Kovar, John Trasvina, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Helen Kanovsky, Peter Kovar and John Trasvina were sworn in
Monday as the General Counsel, Assistant Secretary for
Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs, and the Assistant
Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, respectively at
the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. All three
were unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate on May 1, 2009.
"I am elated to have these talented individuals onboard," said
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Each of them plays a critical role in
our goal of building a dynamic, collaborative housing team that
will better position HUD to help the nation overcome the tremendous
housing challenges we currently face."
Prior to serving as HUD's General Counsel, Kanovsky, held the
positions of Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel of the
AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust. In the late 90's, she was chief
of staff to U.S. Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts. Earlier in
her career, she served as a Special Assistant to HUD Secretary
Patricia Harris. Kanovsky holds a Bachelor's Degree in Government
from Cornell University and Juris Doctor Degree from the Harvard
"This is an exciting opportunity to work with Secretary Donovan
in carrying out the Obama Administration's ambitious housing
goals," Kanovsky said. "HUD has a massive job to do in helping
families affected by the housing crisis. I am honored to
participate in this national effort to help families and
individuals through these troubled times. I am joining a team that
is committed to expanding affordable housing opportunities for all
Kovar, Assistant Secretary for Congressional and
Intergovernmental Affairs, was formerly the chief of staff for
Congressman Barney Frank, Chairman of the Financial Services
Committee. During his 26-year tenure on Capitol Hill, Kovar worked
on virtually every issue that comes before Congress, including such
diverse issues as immigration policy, Medicare reform,
environmental protection, government ethics, and economic
development. For the past six years, Kovar also played a key role
in coordinating the interaction between Representative Frank's
Congressional office and the work of the House Financial Services
Committee, which has jurisdiction over federal housing policy.
"I anticipate building strong relationships throughout Congress,
to advance the important housing goals that have been articulated
by President Obama and Secretary Donovan" said Kovar. "I became
involved in government largely out of a desire to provide help to
those who are economically disadvantaged, and I believe I can make
valuable contributions in that area through my new position at
As Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity,
Trasvina joins HUD after serving as President and General Counsel
for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund
(MALDEF) in Los Angeles, California.
"The principles of fair housing often have the greatest impact
on our nation's children," said Trasvina. "If left ignored, the
pain and shame of a parent whose family is denied an apartment or
home because of race, religion, national origin or disability is
felt by a child for a lifetime. As the Obama Administration works
to provide stability to home ownership, I am honored to lead the
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity."
In 1985, Trasvina began his career at MALDEF in Washington, D.C.
as a legislative attorney. He later worked for U.S. Senator Paul
Simon of Illinois as General Counsel and Staff Director for the
U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution. In 1997,
President Bill Clinton appointed Trasvina as Special Counsel for
Immigration Related Unfair Employment Practices. As Special
Counsel, he led the only federal government office devoted solely
to immigrant workplace rights.
Trasvina was the highest ranking Latino attorney at the U.S.
Department of Justice. After returning to California, he taught
immigration law at Stanford Law School.
A native of San Francisco, Trasvina received his Bachelor of
Arts, cum laude, from Harvard University and earned his Juris
Doctor from Stanford Law School. "He recently chaired the National
Hispanic Leadership Agenda, the umbrella organization of 28
national Latino organizations. In 2008, he received the President's
Award from the Pasadena NAACP. Previously, he was named to Hispanic
Business Magazine's list of the 100 most influential Hispanics in
America and received the Conference on Asian Pacific American
Leadership's Distinguished Service Award."
For more information, visit www.hud.gov.