Ex-Obama housing chief joins 2020 campaign
Ex-San Antonio mayor joins expected crowded Dem field for president
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.
Julian Castro announces his candidacy for president in 2020 at Plaza Guadalupe in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.