On May 8, 2009, Ronald Cordell Sims became the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sims now second-in-command of the federal agency will oversee day-to-day operations of the Department which has an annual budget of $39 billion and some 8,500 employees. A long time champion of environmental stewardship and mass transit, he will now confront the national foreclosure crisis among other housing issues.
Ronald C. Sims, a twin, was born on July 5, 1948, in Spokane, Washington, to James M. Sims and Lydia T. Ramsey Sims. During World War II his parents had moved from Newark, New Jersey, to Spokane’s Geiger Air Field, where his father served in Army Air Force.
After graduating from Lewis and Clark High School in 1966, Sims attended Central Washington State College (now Central Washington University). While in college he became politically engaged as a columnist for the student newspaper. He wrote articles that challenged many of the policies of school officials. His activism contributed to his election as vice president of the student body in his junior year, and in his final year of college, the student body president.
Sims graduated from college in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and then moved to Seattle. He held a series of local, state, and federal government positions. His first position was as an investigator with the consumer-protection division of the Washington State Attorney’s office. Later he held a similar post with the Federal Trade Commission. In 1979 he became the manager of youth services for the City of Seattle’s Department of Human Resources. Sims later became the director of the South East Effective Development (SEED), a community based organization that advocated economic development and social justice in southeast Seattle.
Ron Sims began his political career in 1985 when he became the first African American elected to the King County Council. While on the Council, Sims promoted civil rights issues including lobbying for the