Julián Castro, former Obama Cabinet member, announces 2020 presidential run

14 January, 2019, 12:41 | Author: Carlos George
  • Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro’s strong oratory skills and experience as Barack Obama’s housing secretary could help propel the Texas native into the top tier

"When my grandmother got here nearly 100 years ago, I'm sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later..." A year ago he said he probably would not be in the United States if today's strict immigration policies were in place when Castro's grandmother crossed the border as a young girl in 1922.

Mr Castro, 44, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant who would be the first Hispanic elected president, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama and has always been viewed as a rising star in the party. Since announcing his presidential exploratory committee, however, he has planted himself firmly within the rising progressive side of the Democratic Party. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who are among more than two dozen prospects for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Julian Castro may already be behind in the polls, but no matter-he's boldly running for president.

Castro, whose grandmother came to the USA from Mexico in the 1920s, would be vying to become the party's first Hispanic-American nominee amid a field of that could swell to more than 20 candidates.

In his hometown San Antonio on Saturday, Castro is launching his campaign for president, hoping to outrun a potential large and diverse field of Democratic Party contenders. From 2014-2017 he served as the HUD secretary under Obama, and was a top pick to be Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016 before Tim Kaine was tapped.

Introduced by his twin brother U.S. Rep. Joaquín Castro of Texas and his mother, who said his son believes in the "infrastructure of opportunity... that every family should be given".

At a time when the federal government has been partly shut down over Trump's demand for funds to build a wall on the Mexican border, Castro sounded a contrasting message.

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"He's a failed leader on this issue, and now he's just trying to stoke his political base by bringing up the wall all the time", said Mr. Castro.

"When my grandmother got here nearly a hundred years ago, I'm sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America", Mr Castro said in a statement announcing his campaign. He became the second Democrat to formally enter race, after former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.

Castro would be the first identical twin elected president. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is doing little to dim speculation that he might jump into a field that has no clear front-runner.

Castro formed an exploratory committee in December. Ted Cruz turned O'Rourke into a national Democratic celebrity.

Urging his supporters to look around the blue-collar neighborhood where he grew up, Castro said, "there are no frontrunners that are born here, but... with big dreams and hard work, anything is possible in this country". He spent some time as a city councilman and then mayor in San Antonio, but he was more of a "local news" phenomenon until Barack Obama plucked him out of Texas and gave him a cabinet position at Housing and Urban Development.

Laying out other key components of his campaign platform, Castro noted his support for Medicare for All and his rejection of corporate political action committee (PAC) money as well as his dedication to taking action to address the global climate crisis.

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