Julian Castro was born on September 16, 1974, in San Antonio, Texas. His parents both served as political activists, with his father being an educator and mother being a college administrator. He is of Mexican descent. Castro’s twin, Joaquin Castro, is also currently a notable politician. Castro attended Stanford University (Class of 1996: political science and communications major) and attained his law degree at Harvard Law School. He worked briefly in a law firm before representing San Antonio’s District 7 as the youngest council member. He served as the mayor of San Antonio in 2009, and then again in 2011, and 2013. In 2014, Castro served as the youngest member on Obama’s board, as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. He published his memoir, An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream in 2018. He announced his candidacy on January 12th, 2019. Castro has his own Super PAC, called Opportunity First. He raised 500,000 back in 2017. There are no sources on his current campaign funding status.
Major Accomplishments as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development:
When serving as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Castro enforced several newer policies. They are as follows:
- ConnectHome: an effort to give poorer families access to the Internet.
- Improvement in Veteran Homelessness & Family Homelessness
- Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule: helping families get to better neighborhoods w/ housing choice vouchers
- Lowered Mortgage Insurance Premiums
Castro has not served in Congress, thus he does not have a voting record.
Main Goals & Platforms:
Castro’s main platform revolves around the ideas of immigration and education. He wants to scrap the idea of a wall, keep families together, and find a real solution to immigration. Castro is extremely outspoken on this topic in particular, constantly calling out Trump for his immigration actions. He created a bold new plan to counteract Trump’s deal from 2016. Castro establishes this idea that gives illegal immigrants who raise families, etc in America a chance. This plan encompasses several issues, most notably, an investigation (not abolition) of ICE, reforms enforcement on the border, and protection for the DREAMers. Castro has cited his roots on several occasions here, as he is Mexican-American. This adds to his personal relatability. In education, Castro has been adamant on founding a universal Pre-K, where taxes are raised 1/8th of a cent to provide all 4-year-olds preschooling. He also wants to make the first 2 years of higher education free, though there has been no further word on how he plans to carry this out. He will establish America back into the Paris Climate Agreement and has endorsed the new Green Deal. Castro wants to work with business to find a solution for Climate Change. The former secretary also endorses a couple of other plans, such as Medicare for all and a higher minimum wage. He is fully supportive of LGBT rights, tighter gun control, and abortion.
In 2016, Castro was accused of violating the Hatch Act, a law that prevents members of the executive branch to meddle with the election affairs. More specifically, it restricts cabinet members who seem to be speaking for the office to speak about the election or other politics. Castro gave a speech that was about Housing and Urban Development, but the speech transitioned into one endorsing Clinton. Castro was extremely supportive of Clinton and made an effort to tout her. Castro has indicated that he thought his statement was obviously personal but has since acknowledged his mistake. Obama barred his cabinet members from speaking at the Democratic Conference after the incident.
Castro has also been accused of handling Wall Street too gently. He has been accused of standing too close to the mortgage industry and willingly handing Wall Street whatever it wants. This has made Castro less popular within his own party.
Popularity & Electability:
Castro’s chances are slim, polling between a 0 and 2% chance in state and national reports. His mayor electability was pretty steady, as he was re-elected 3 times in a row. Obama was the one who selected him for the HUD secretary, and he was approved in the Senate on a 71-26 vote. He is projected to do well with Latino voters, as he did with his San Antonio mayor elections. One of the main challenges he faces will be the other Texan candidate, Beto O’Rourke, who almost won the senate race back in 2018. O’Rourke, who is also popular within his home state of Texas, may hurt Castro’s chances at securing a nomination. He is not popular with Republicans, as his constant bashes on Trump have been retorted with responses that Castro is nothing more than a “lightweight”. This alone already gives Castro little to no chance of performing well with the Red states and Midwest.
Castro is not a top contender in the 2020 election but is sparking new fire into the Democratic race, especially through diversity and immigration.
Featured Image Via San Antonio Express-News