Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and federal secretary of Housing and Urban Development, announced his White House bid today, making him the first Hispanic in a crowded field of Democrats vying to challenge President Donald Trump in 2020.
Castro, 44, is the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, positioning himself as a political outsider with liberal credentials.
He was the nation’s 16th HUD Secretary from 2014 to 2017, serving as
the youngest member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.
Among his accomplishments he counts HUD’s work to stabilize the housing market, rebuild communities struck by natural disasters through a $1 billion program, expansion of lead safety protections in federally assisted housing, and action to fulfill the obligations of the Fair Housing Act.
In 2001, Castro was elected at age 26, becoming the youngest city councilman in San Antonio history, and he was the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city from 2009 until he joined Obama’s cabinet in 2014.
If elected, the twin brother of Congressman Joaquin Castro would be the first Hispanic president. Julian and Joaquin attended Stanford and Harvard before entering politics at the age of 26.
Their mother was a Chicana political activist who helped establish the Chicano political party La Raza Unida, and who ran unsuccessfully for the San Antonio City Council in 1971.
Castro once said, “My mother is probably the biggest reason that my brother and I are in public service. Growing up, she would take us to a lot of rallies and organizational meetings and other things that are very boring for an 8-, 9-, 10-year-old.”
His father, Jessie Guzman, is a retired mathematics teacher and political activist. Never married, Rosie and Jessie separated when Castro and his brother were eight years old.
The family’s Texan roots trace back to 1920, when Castro’s grandmother, Victoria Castro, joined extended family members there as a six-year-old orphan from northern Mexico.
Castro is joining a crowded field that already includes US Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, US Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang have each previously announced Democratic presidential ambitions.
Senator Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden have not indicated if they will seek the party’s nod to challenge Trump for the White House.
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