The 2020 contenders: Julian Castro

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Biography

Julian Castro was born one minute before his identical twin brother, Joaquin, in San Antonio, Texas, in 1974. His mother, Maria, was a Chicana political activist whom Castro has credited for motivating he and his brother to choose careers in public service. Joaquin Castro is currently a congressman.

Julian Castro attended Stanford University and Harvard Law School, along with his brother. He was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001 at the age of 26, making him the youngest council member in San Antonio history. He unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2005, but won the mayorship in 2009. He was re-elected twice, in 2011 and 2013. Castro rocketed to fame when he was chosen to give the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the first Hispanic person to do so.

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In 2014, Castro was confirmed as secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Obama administration. During the 2016 election, Castro was on the shortlist to become Hillary Clinton’s vice presidential nominee, although Clinton eventually chose Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.

Castro laid the groundwork for a 2020 presidential bid throughout 2018, visiting New Hampshire and publishing a memoir, “An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream,” in October. He announced the creation of an exploratory committee for a presidential run Dec. 12.

Castro and his wife, Erica, have two children.

Issues

In his video announcing his exploratory committee in December, Castro said he is focused on affordable college, care for seniors, universal health care and welcoming immigrants.

“No matter where we’re from, we’re united by the same daily needs — a good job, a good education for our kids, good health care, an affordable place to live. The need to be acknowledged for our contributions, not for our gender or who we love. We all hope our children have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We all hope they can worry about their studies, not their safety,” Castro said.

Castro’s tenure at HUD was marked by a focus on fair housing issues. In his exit memo from the agency, Castro touted how HUD had stabilized the housing market and preserved affordable housing through public-private partnerships. He also discussed how HUD invested $18 billion in communities recovering from natural disasters and initiated a “$1 billion competition for resilient housing and infrastructure projects.”

Views on LGBT issues and abortion rights

Castro was also a leader on LGBT rights as mayor. He was the first San Antonio mayor to serve as the grand marshal of the city’s Pride Parade in 2009 and joined mayors across the country in signing the “Mayors for the Freedom to Marry” petition for same-sex marriage equality in 2012.

Castro is also a supporter of the rights of women to have an abortion. He spoke at the annual luncheon for Planned Parenthood South Texas in May.

Controversy

In 2016, the Office of the Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative body, found that Castro had violated the Hatch Act by commenting on the 2016 presidential campaign during an interview about local issues. Castro apologized and ordered his team improve training on the Hatch Act in his department.

Position on Trump target list

Castro hasn’t become a target for President Trump. Unlike some of the other potential presidential candidates, Mr. Trump has never personally disparaged Castro on Twitter. 

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