The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a hearing on October 26 to consider the nomination of Elizabeth de Leon Bhargava to be an assistant secretary for Administration at HUD. de Leon Bhargava has served as an executive in the public sector for more than 20 years. Most recently, as New York State deputy secretary for Labor & Workforce, the first Latina to hold this position, she was responsible for labor and workforce policy and operations, impacting more than 9.6 million working Americans. de Leon managed a portfolio of agencies operating with total budgets of over $5 billion and more than 5,000 employees with the responsibility of regulating public- and private-sector labor and workforce matters. Her leadership enabled the growth of a diverse, inclusive and talented workforce, including more than 170,000 state workers. In addition, de Leon led the optimization of multibillion-dollar safety net systems that help businesses stay productive and provide critical benefits to workers. Notably, she was integral in securing New York’s historic minimum hourly wage increase to $15, lifting the earnings of about a quarter of the state’s total workforce and resulting in $15.7 billion of direct economic gains. She also led the establishment of New York’s Paid Family Leave program.
Previously, as a senior advisor to the Speaker of the New York City Council, de Leon directed activities of the Council, including a team of more than 300 and a budget in excess of $55 million. As deputy commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services, she supervised the largest business improvement district network in the country, with annual investment of more than $100 million. Prior to that, on behalf of the New York State Office of the Attorney General, de Leon led investigations and prosecutions ensuring the preservation of civil rights and affordable housing, protecting survivors of human trafficking and supporting communities impacted by immigration fraud. A graduate of Binghamton University and the Buffalo University School of Law, de Leon resides in New York City with her husband.