Ex-Obama hous­ing chief joins 2020 cam­paign

Ex-San An­to­nio mayor joins ex­pected crowded Dem field for pres­i­dent

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Milwaukee Wisconsin - Christal Hayes USA TO­DAY

WASH­ING­TON – Ju­lian Cas­tro, a for­mer Obama cab­i­net mem­ber and San An­to­nio mayor, of­fi­cially threw his hat in the ring on Satur­day, an­nounc­ing he would run for pres­i­dent.

On a stage with his fam­ily, in­clud­ing his twin brother Rep. Joaquin Cas­tro, in his home­town of San An­to­nio, the Texas Demo­crat de­clared his bid to try and take the White House from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in 2020 and ful­fill a des­tiny that Democrats have pro­jected since he was elected San An­to­nio mayor at 34.

“When my grand­mother got here al­most a hun­dred years ago, I’m sure she never could have imag­ined that just two gen­er­a­tions later, one of her grand­sons would be serv­ing as a mem­ber of the United States Congress and the other would be stand­ing with you here to­day to say these words: I am a can­di­date for Pres­i­dent of the United States of Amer­ica,” Cas­tro told a crowd of sup­port­ers in front of an Amer­i­can flag back­drop.

Cas­tro, who made re­marks in both English and Span­ish, also rolled out his cam­paign slo­gan: One Na­tion. One Des­tiny.

Cas­tro’s cam­paign an­nounce­ment at the his­toric Plaza Guadalupe came one day af­ter Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard, 37, said she was also run­ning for pres­i­dent, telling CNN “I have de­cided to run and will be mak­ing a for­mal an­nounce­ment within the next week.”

Cas­tro, 44, along with Gab­bard, have been pre­dicted to be two of the youngest of ex­pected can­di­dates. Cas­tro may also be the most well-known Latino fig­ure in a race that’s likely to re­volve around im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

His an­nounce­ment also fol­lowed Demo­cratic U.S. Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren un­veil­ing plans for an ex­ploratory com­mit­tee for pres­i­dent, a for­mal­ity that comes be­fore the launch of a pres­i­den­tial cam­paign that legally al­lows po­ten­tial can­di­dates to raise money.

On his way to the an­nounce­ment, Cas­tro rode a pub­lic bus to the plaza and live-streamed it to his Face­book page. The bus, No. 68, was the same one he and his twin brother rode to school as chil­dren.

His first trip as a can­di­date is sched­uled for Puerto Rico, where he will visit with res­i­dents still cop­ing with the ef­fects of Hur­ri­cane Maria. He told sup­port­ers his first act as pres­i­dent, if elected, would be to re­join the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord, some­thing that U.S. with­drew from un­der Trump. In his speech, Cas­tro touched on many is­sues that are likely to guide the 2020 elec­tion sea­son, in­clud­ing women’s re­pro­duc­tive rights, Medi­care for all, Black Lives Mat­ter, cli­mate change and im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy.

“To­day we’re fall­ing back­wards in­stead of mov­ing for­ward. And the op­por­tu­ni­ties that made Amer­ica, the Amer­ica we love, those op­por­tu­ni­ties are reach­ing fewer and fewer peo­ple,” Cas­tro told the crowd. “To­day, we’re at risk of drop­ping the ba­ton. And that’s why we are all here to­day. Be­cause we’re go­ing to make sure that the prom­ise of Amer­ica is avail­able to ev­ery­one.”

Cas­tro is likely to face stiff com­pe­ti­tion from a crowded field of high-pro­file Democrats in a pri­mary chal­lenge. Along with Gab­bard and War­ren, oth­ers, in­clud­ing for­mer Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, are also said to be con­sid­er­ing a run for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion.

IM­AGES ED­WARD A. ORNELAS/GETTY

Ju­lian Cas­tro an­nounces his can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent in 2020 at Plaza Guadalupe in San An­to­nio, Texas, on Satur­day.

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