Dr. Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Donald Trump administration, will be the keynote speaker for the Hillsborough County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner scheduled for June 9.
That announcement was made Tuesday night by Deborah Tamargo, the chair of the Hillsborough GOP, at the party’s monthly meeting in Tampa.
Congressmen Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan and Dennis Ross will also appear at the dinner, as will House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
A native of Detroit, Carson grew up poor and was raised by his single mother, eventually graduating from Yale University and University of Michigan Medical School.
In 1984, Carson became the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University. At age 33, he was the youngest doctor in America to rise to that position.
Carson earned worldwide recognition in 1987 when he led the team performing the first successful separation of conjoined twins, Benjamin and Patrick Binder, who were joined at the head. The procedure took five months of planning, and the surgery was over 22 hours using a 70-person team. He is also credited with discovering hemispherectomy, a procedure where half a brain is removed in a patient to cure certain brain diseases causing seizures.
Carson documented his life story in an autobiography, “Gifted Hands,” which made him a national hero, particularly among African-Americans. He has written several books since, including “One Nation,” which became a New York Times best-seller in 2014.
In 2008, President George W. Bush awarded Carson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award given to a civilian.
After ending a Republican bid for president in 2016, Carson — an early Trump supporter — became Trump’s pick for HUD secretary in February 2017. The U.S. Senate confirmed him March 2 on a 51-48 vote. He was a controversial nominee because of his lack of experience in either housing or development, or government in general.