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Julián Castro        

Former Democratic Candidate in the 2020 Presidential Race; Former Mayor of San Antonio & Former Secretary of Housing & Urban Development

Julián Castro is a Democratic politician who was the youngest member of President Obama's Cabinet, serving as the 16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017. Castro began his career serving in government in 2001 when he was elected to the San Antonio City Council, becoming the youngest city councilman in San Antonio history.

Previously, Castro served as the mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas from 2009 until he joined Obama's cabinet in 2014. During his tenure Castro created SA2020, a community-wide visioning effort, and nonprofit organization that aimed to turn a list of goals created by the people of San Antonio into a reality by the year 2020.

Castro gained national attention in 2012 when he was the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Following the 2012 elections, Castro declined the position of United States Secretary of Transportation, partly with an eye on running for governor of Texas after 2017.

He also established Cafe College in 2010, a nonprofit that provides college guidance to San Antonio-area students. As a proponent of education, he led a voter referendum to expand pre-kindergarten education. In March 2010, Castro was named to the World Economic Forum's list of Young Global Leaders. Later that year, Time magazine placed him on its "40 under 40" list of rising stars in American politics.

Castro ran for mayor of San Antonio in 2005. He was defeated by approximately 4000 votes when Hardberger received 51.5% of the votes in the runoff. Following his election defeat, Castro established his own law practice. Castro ran for mayor of San Antonio again in 2009. He won and became the fifth Latino mayor in the history of San Antonio. He was the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city.[Castro easily won re-election in 2011 and 2013, receiving 82.9% of the vote in 2011 and 67% of the vote in 2013.

In 2018, Castro was named as the Dean’s Distinguished Fellow and Fellow of the Dávila Chair in International Trade Policy at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He also published his memoir, An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream through Little, Brown and Company. On January 12, 2019, Castro launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States in 2020 in San Antonio. He was the first Texan in the 2020 race and would be third-youngest president if elected. In his announcement, Castro emphasized Medicare-for-all, universal pre-K, and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants as part of comprehensive immigration reform. He dropped out of the presidential race on January 2, 2020, endorsing the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren soon after.

He received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1996, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000. After law school, the Castro and his twin brother Joaquin worked for the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld before starting their own firm in 2005.

Speech Topics

Speech Topics

  • Urban Revitalization
  • Public/Private Partnerships
  • Education and Literacy
  • Technology and Closing the Digital Divide
  • Disaster Resiliency
  • Activism and Public Service

Activism and Public Service

At a time in our history when cynicism is easy to find, Julian Castro stands as an example of what can be accomplished with passion and dedication. Castro’s grandmother arrived in the U.S. an orphan immigrant from Mexico with only a fourth grade education. She was determined that her daughter, Rosie, would have a better life. She worked multiple jobs to provide for her, and Rosie became a vocal community activist. She ran for city council and even worked on other progressives’ political campaigns. Her determination and passion for improving the lives of others inspired her twin sons to do the same. Julian and his twin brother graduated from Stanford University and then went on to earn law degrees from Harvard Law School. Joaquin is currently a member of Congress and Julian went from city council member to Mayor to Cabinet Member of President Barack Obama’s administration.

When things can seem at their most bleak, it’s time for those who want change to stand up. But how to engage…and WHY engage? Can one person make a difference? What about a group? A movement? Castro’s own personal story is not only proof that the American Dream still lives, but he shows that there is still much to be done to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.


Senate confirms San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as housing ...
Julián Castro, the new secretary of Housing and Urban Affairs, at the White House on June 4. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images). update 4pm. Through an aide ...

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