Candy Carson

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Candy Carson
Candy Carson 2014b.jpg
Carson in 2014
Personal details
Born Lacena Rustin
(1953-08-19) August 19, 1953 (age 64)
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Political party Republican
Ben Carson (m. 1975)
Children 5 children (3 sons, 2 twins †)
Alma mater Yale University
Johns Hopkins University, MBA

Lacena "Candy" Carson (née Rustin; born August 19, 1953) is an American author and businesswoman. Married to current Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and former neurosurgeon, Benjamin Carson, she co-founded and promotes the Carson Scholars Fund. Alongside her husband, she is the co-author of four books.[1] During her husband's run for the 2016 Republican nomination for President of the United States, Carson was active on the campaign trail doing TV appearances and solo live campaign appearances.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Born Lacena Rustin on August 19, 1953 in Detroit, Michigan, Carson met her future husband, also a Detroit native, in the 1970s when both were students at Yale University in Connecticut.

Following her graduation from Yale, Carson attended Johns Hopkins Carey Business School where she earned her MBA.[3][4][5]

A former concert violinist,[6] Carson performed the National Anthem during her husband’s campaign kick-off.[7] She has been a conductor for the University of Maryland Medical Center Chamber Players.[8][9]


In the Baltimore area, Carson worked in real estate, trust administration and insurance. [8] Carson has been interviewed or profiled many times in the media including by Greta Van Susteren [10] Latin Post,[11] The View,[12] Breitbart,[13] The Hill,[14] Bustle,[15] National Review,[16] The Daily Mail,[17] Fox News (as an author)[18] and CNN.[19]

Carson Scholars Fund[edit]

Carson alongside her husband Ben during his 2016 presidential campaign

In 1994, Carson and her husband started the Carson Scholars Fund, designed to provide scholarships to students in grades 4–11 for "academic excellence and humanitarian qualities".[20] The foundation was started after the Carsons read that U.S. students ranked second to last in terms of math and science testing among 22 countries, feeling that their efforts could assist in encouraging academic efforts as they noted schools award athletes with trophies whereas honor students received only "a pin or certificate." Recipients of the Carson Scholars Fund receive a $1,000 scholarship towards their college education and has awarded upward of 6,700 scholarships.[20][21]

Carson is the facilitator of the scholarship fund.[3][7][22][23]

Personal life[edit]

Carson and her husband married in 1975. Together, they have three sons: Murray, Benjamin Jr., and Rhoeyce, as well as several grandchildren.[7] Until 2013, the couple lived in West Friendship, Maryland and then relocated to Florida.[5] Both she and her husband are long-time members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.[24][25] In line with her religious beliefs, Carson is a vegetarian.[26][27][28][29]

Portrayal in popular media[edit]

Carson was portrayed by Aunjanue Ellis in the TNT made-for-TV movie Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (first airdate February 7, 2009), starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. She starred as herself in the 1991 biographical documentary about her husband, Gifted Hands.[30][31]

She was portrayed by Leslie Jones on the Saturday March 10th, 2018 episode of Saturday Night Live

In the news[edit]

Carson received criticism for reportedly pressuring her husband's staff to spend up to $31,000 on a dining set in his Housing and Urban Development office in late 2017.[32] This was discovered after Helen Foster, a career HUD official, filed a complaint alleging that she was demoted from her position because she refused to spend more than the legal $5,000 limit for office redecoration.[33]


Alongside her husband, Carson has co-authored four books, including One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future, which made The New York Times Best Seller list, including five weeks at #1.[1] Her memoir was released at the beginning of 2016.

  • America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great. Thomas Nelson. 2013. ISBN 0310330912.  (with Ben Carson)
  • One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future. Sentinel. 2014. ISBN 1595231129.  (with Ben Carson)
  • One Vote: Make Your Voice Heard. Tyndale House. 2014. ISBN 149640632X.  (with Ben Carson)
  • A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties. 2015. ISBN 978-0698195004.  (with Ben Carson)[34]
  • A Doctor in the House: My Life with Ben Carson. January 5, 2016. [35]


  1. ^ a b Barnes, Fred (January 26, 2015). "Taking Ben Carson Seriously". Retrieved January 17, 2015. 
  2. ^ "With Ben Carson a contender, a look at wife Candy". TheHill. 2015-10-23. Retrieved 2015-10-28. 
  3. ^ a b Clark Mindock (22 October 2015). "Who Is Candy Carson? Ben Carson's Wife Gets Compared To Michelle Obama". International Business Times. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  4. ^ Philip Elliott (2015-07-16). "The GOP's New Better Halves". TIME. Retrieved 2015-10-28. 
  5. ^ a b "Candy Carson". Penguin Random House. Retrieved 2015-10-28. 
  6. ^ "Concert Violinist Candy Carson Tours and Performs at Opportunity Village". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  7. ^ a b c Frederick Reese. "Candy Carson, Ben's Wife: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know". Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "6 Things You Should Know About Ben Carson's Wife Lacena 'Candy' Carson!". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  9. ^ "Candy Carson - Penguin Random House". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Post, Latin (25 October 2015). "Who Is Candy Carson? Ben Carson's Wife Profile & A Glimpse of Her Role in the Republican's Election Campaign". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  12. ^ Conservative Review (6 October 2015). "Candy Carson on the View". Retrieved 2 March 2017 – via YouTube. 
  13. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: Candy Carson Talks about Her 40-Year Wedding Anniversary with Dr. Ben Carson, Faith, and Campaigning - Breitbart". 6 July 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  14. ^ contributor, Carol Felsenthal, (23 October 2015). "With Ben Carson a contender, a look at wife Candy". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  15. ^ Lyons, Kim. "Who Is Ben Carson's Wife? Candy Carson Is Also An Accomplished Violinist". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  16. ^ "Meet Candy Carson, the Anti–Michelle Obama". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  17. ^ "Ben Carson's wife Candy gets political on The View". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  18. ^ Fox News (6 October 2015). "Ben and Candy Carson pen new book about the Constitution". Retrieved 2 March 2017 – via YouTube. 
  19. ^ "Candy Carson: 'I'm not as politically inclined' - CNN Video". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  20. ^ a b Madeleine Buckley. "Our History". Carson Scholars Fund. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  21. ^ Simmons, Deborah (February 1, 2009). "Carson fund helps to inspire students". The Washington Times. 
  22. ^ Interview with Candy Carson. YouTube. 24 January 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  23. ^ "Updates on Past Winners, 2001-2013". Philanthropy Roundtable. Retrieved January 13, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Encyclopedia of World Biography: Biography of Benjamin S. Carson". Notable Biographies. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 
  25. ^ "Ben Carson". Redland Baptist Church. Retrieved May 24, 2014. 
  26. ^ "Grain, Bean Combinations Protein-rich". tribunedigital-sunsentinel. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  27. ^ "Dr. Ben Carson Tells His Life Story - Baltimore magazine". Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  28. ^ "Ben Carson likes his burgers - and his bees". Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  29. ^ "Vegetarian Times". Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  30. ^ "Gifted Hands". 1 January 2000. Retrieved 2 March 2017 – via IMDb. 
  31. ^ "Dr. Ben Carson Gifted Hands documentary". Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ Carson, Candy & Carson, Ben. A More Perfect Union: What We the People Can Do to Reclaim Our Constitutional Liberties. Retrieved October 28, 2015. 
  35. ^ Carson, Candy (January 5, 2016). A Doctor in the House: My Life with Ben Carson. ISBN 9781595231246. Retrieved October 28, 2015.