By Paul Kurtz

NEW JERSEY (CBS) — New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez held a conference call with a group of Garden State mayors, ahead of this weeks confirmation hearing for HUD Secretary Designee, Ben Carson.

As the ranking member of the Senate Housing subcommittee, Menendez told the mayors, he has some concerns about the conservative Carson.

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“I listened to his comments when he was running for President and I want to see how he reconciles those comments with the very agency that he is going to lead that in many respects is diametrically different than the comments he made in general about federal programs and federal assistance,” Senator Menendez said.

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Carson is a retired neurosurgeon with no housing policy experience. Camden Mayor, Dana Redd suggested that he can get up to speed in a hurry by getting out of the office.

“I’m hopeful that the incoming secretary will not only take a look at the work of the agency and its impact to cities across this country, but that he would also do site visits to gain a better understanding of how people’s lives are being impacted by the work of HUD,” Redd said.

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Carson, if confirmed, will oversee a mammoth agency that employs eight thousand people with an annual budget of around 50 billion dollars.