Julian Castro, Former Obama Housing Chief, Announces 2020 Presidential Run

Julian Castro, Former Obama Housing Chief, Announces 2020 Presidential Run

Julian Castro, Former Obama Housing Chief, Announces 2020 Presidential Run

Julian Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and mayor of San Antonio, launched his presidential campaign on Saturday, joining what is expected to be a crowded field of contenders for the Democratic nomination. His identical twin brother, Joaquin Castro, was a state representative. Castro is poised to be one of the youngest candidates and the lone Latino competitor in the race.

Hispanic activists were already celebrating Castro's potential run for the White House, arguing his politics and life story served as an antidote to the Trump presidency, which has always been characterized by anti-immigrant rhetoric.

But Castro, whose grandmother, Victoria Castro, was born in the Mexican border state of Coahuila, and crossed into the United States at Eagle Pass, Texas, in 1922 after her parents died during the Mexican Revolution, added that at no time in his life, from growing up on San Antonio's impoverished West Side to his run for mayor in 2009, was he considered the favorite to get ahead.

Former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro waves as he arrives with his family to an event where he announced his decision to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, January 12, 2019, in San Antonio.

Mr Castro is getting an early start in trying to stand out. Former US Representative John Delaney has been running for more than a year. If successful, he would be the first Hispanic and one of the youngest Americans to win the White House.

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The impasse over paying for a border wall that Mr Trump made a central part of his 2016 campaign has led to the partial federal closure. "We say no to scapegoating immigrants", he said.

"I've resolved that before I die, I want to speak it fluently", said Castro, who has used the program Rosetta Stone to learn the language. He said that if he is elected, his first executive action would be to recommit the U.S.to the Paris Climate Accord that President Trump abandoned past year. Castro had said leading up to his announcement that a Latino candidate was a must in the 2020 field.

Since announcing formation of an exploratory committee in December, Mr Castro has begun to stake out positions on policy debates that will dominate the nominating contests that kick off early next year. Ted Cruz turned O'Rourke into a national Democratic celebrity. He'll be in New Hampshire this Wednesday at the traditional "Politics and Eggs" breakfast, which has become an obligatory stop for presidential candidates.

Even some supporters at Castro's announcement could be torn if O'Rourke gets in the race.

Strategically, he reminded the crowd about his powerful speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

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Most of his speech highlighted his family's immigrant history and San Antonio roots - his grandmother moved to the United States in the 1920s and his mother is a longtime community activist.

Aged 44 and long seen as a rising star in the party, he served as housing secretary under President Barack Obama and was on the list of Hillary Clinton's potential running mates for the 2016 election.

"He (Julian) should never be underestimated", Rosie Castro told the crowd.

Like other Democrats running, Castro has said he will not accept money from political action committees tied to corporations and unions, and he has sought to introduce himself to voters as a champion for universal health care and affordable housing.

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