Profile: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Alphonso Jackson

— -- Alphonso Jackson, a longtime friend of President Bush, has been asked to stay on in his job as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Jackson was appointed deputy secretary of the department in June 2001 and took over as acting secretary in December 2003 when Mel Martinez stepped down to run for the Senate. Jackson was confirmed as secretary by the Senate in March.

Bush has been friends with Jackson since his days in Texas. Jackson led public housing authorities in Dallas, Washington, D.C., and St. Louis before moving to HUD.

In his first term, Bush targeted HUD's Section 8 rental housing voucher program, which provides subsidies for the poor, elderly and disabled to rent housing. Jackson had supported fixing a system he described as "broken" in an opinion piece published in The New York Times in August.

The president backed away from revamping the program as Democrats and low-income housing advocates feared it would result in the eviction of thousands of low-income families. In addition, state and local finance agencies use Section 8 contracts to secure the bond financing for multi-family housing projects, and Bush's move to change the way the program's rental payments were calculated caused concern among municipal market participants that the change would reduce income for affordable housing projects.

Experience in Housing, Power

Prior to joining HUD and after his various positions in public housing, Jackson was president of the American Electric Power-TEXAS, a $13 billion utility company in Austin, Texas.

Jackson holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in education administration from Truman State University in Missouri. He received his law degree from Washington University School of Law.

An expert on public housing and urban issues, Jackson has served on a number of national and state commissions, including as chairman of the General Services Commission of the State of Texas. He also served on the National Commission on America's Urban Families and the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing. Jackson has worked with numerous nonprofit and corporate boards.

He and his wife, Marcia, are the parents of two grown daughters.