Watt's new journey starts Thursday morning

Jun. 26, 2013 @ 09:05 PM

U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, D-12th, is scheduled to appear for the first time before U.S. senators Thursday morning in his bid to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency — a move that would result in Watt leaving Congress before his term expires.
Watt was nominated in early May by President Barack Obama to take over the agency. If Watt’s nomination is approved by the U.S. Senate, he would leave the congressional seat that he’s held for 21 years and prompt a special election.
Watt’s initial hearing before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Washington, D.C. Watt will field questions from senators on the panel. The committee will make a recommendation to the full Senate on Watt’s nomination.
Watt’s congressional district includes parts of High Point. The 12th District reaches from the Charlotte metropolitan area through the central Piedmont to the Triad.
The date for a special election to fill Watt’s seat wouldn’t be set until he is confirmed and takes the federal agency post. At least a half a dozen Democrats have expressed interest in succeeding Watt in the heavily Democratic-leaning district. They include state Reps. Marcus Brandon, D-Guilford, and Alma Adams, D-Guilford. Brandon is from High Point, while Adams is from Greensboro.
The winner of the special election would serve in the 12th District through the November 2014 general election.
Watt would head an agency with a primary role of regulating the nation’s two main mortgage finance firms, Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
Watt has served on the House Financial Services Committee since his first term in Congress, according to the congressman’s website. Watt’s district includes the headquarters for one of the nation’s largest financial institutions, Bank of America based in Charlotte.
The House Financial Services Committee oversees all aspects of the financial services industry, including banking, insurance and securities trading. Watt has served on the committee with jurisdiction over the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department and Securities and Exchange Commission,

pjohnson@hpe.com | 888-3528