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Secretary Carson hopes Florida shooting will be a 'wake-up call' to work toward progress


WASHINGTON (Sinclair Broadcast Group) - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson sat down for a one-on-one interview with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Tuesday to discuss the tragic Feb. 14, school shooting in Florida and his first year as Secretary.

The Secretary extended his sympathy to the families of victims lost in the shooting and hopes rather than finger pointing, people will view this tragedy as a wake-up call and work toward progress.

"I think this one is a little different than some of the other ones because all the warning signs were there. You know, "see something, say something." Well people saw something and they said something and still nothing was done," Carson said.

Carson pointed out that in federal buildings, there are steps a person has to go through before they can enter. He added that no one should be able to get into a school unidentified and unsanctioned.

"And when you go into almost any Federal building there is screening," Carson said. "We already know how to prevent this kind of thing. So, the ability is there and now I hope after the incident the will is there."

Earlier Tuesday, a hundred students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School bussed up the Florida peninsula to the state capitol in Tallahassee to urge lawmakers there to pass sweeping gun control legislation and hopefully prevent similar mass shootings from occurring again. The bill the students were advocating for was ultimately not picked up by the House.

Carson said he is glad to see the students getting involved.

It's been nearly one year since the secretary took office at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He said that his first year has gone very well and he has learned some lessons along the way when it comes to creating and shaping policy.

"The lesson is, don't just hastily go ahead and do something just because it's on the plate. Study it, get the results and then make your policies based on data. That is so important," Carson said.He equated the experience to being a CEO of a hospital because there are a wide range of experts within a particular field. He said the key is coordinating and leading.

During the first five months of the secretary's tenure, he was without assistant secretaries. Carson said that forced him to get into the weeds and learn a topic from the ground up. While Carson has said that experience was advantageous in the long run, his department is still missing individuals in key leadership positions, like the Federal Housing Administration Commissioner. Carson blamed the lack of staffing on the "system."

"A single senator can hold up a nominee even though you know eventually they are going to get through. And I guess there thinking is "I don't like this person, I don't like their policy and I don't care how badly I hurt the country, I just don't like them." When we can get over then we will be much better off as a nation," Carson said.

The secretary said that he believes that change and progress will happen but his hope is with the next generation.

"I have hope for us not necessarily for this generation but the next generation. We really have to start targeting them and helping them to understand that we are not each other enemies." Carson said. "Every nation that has divided itself to this extent has not succeeded."

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