The new head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development has pledged to continue working on Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act reform and to complete the initiative started by former Secretary Mel Martinez, who resigned Dec. 12."RESPA reform is alive and well," Acting Secretary Alphonso Jackson told a HUD gathering at which Mr. Martinez thanked HUD employees for their support during his three years as secretary. The Cuban-born attorney has left his cabinet post in what is widely believed to be a signal that he will run for the U.S. Senate in his home state of Florida. "Let me make this as clear as I can: the department will continue the work Secretary Martinez began -- making the process of buying and refinancing homes simple and less expensive to consumers across this country," Mr. Jackson said. Mr. Jackson has served as deputy secretary under Mr. Martinez. He is a former utility company executive from Texas and was president and chief executive of the Dallas Housing Authority from 1989 to 1996.

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