On Saturday, former housing secretary Julian Castro officially announced his bid to become US president. Speaking in San Antonio, Texas, where he served as mayor from 2009 to 2014, the 44-year-old candidate denounced Donald Trump’s immigration policy, saying, “We say no to building a wall and say yes to building community. We say no to scapegoating immigrants, and yes to Dreamers, yes to keeping families together, and yes to finally passing comprehensive immigration reform.”
It will be hard for Castro to stand out in a crowded field of Democrats expected to run for president. Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren entered the race on Dec. 31. Former vice president Joe Biden and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders are also eyeing 2020. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, a representative for Hawaii, said yesterday she will run. More candidates will follow.
“I am not a frontrunner in this race,” Castro acknowledged, “but I have not been a frontrunner at any time in my life.”
One thing Castro does have: a compelling story. His grandmother was an immigrant from Mexico, and his mother was a key member of the Raza Unida political party, which advocated for Chicano rights. She has continued her advocacy work, and Castro credits her as being one of the main reasons why he and his identical twin brother became politicians. On Thursday, he suggested he could serve as his party’s “antidote to Donald Trump.”
Indeed, it was telling his story in a keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention that thrust him into the national spotlight, and brought to attention his Barack Obama-like gifts as an orator. He went on to become the youngest member of Obama’s cabinet, serving as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017.
Here is that speech, with Castro’s brother, Joaquín, giving the introduction:
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