Ex-hous­ing sec­re­tary de­clares 2020 run

Santa Fe New Mexican - - NATION & WORLD - By Mag­gie As­tor

Julián Cas­tro, for­mer hous­ing sec­re­tary and for­mer mayor of San An­to­nio, an­nounced Satur­day he would run for pres­i­dent, one of the most high-profile Latino Democrats ever to seek the party’s nom­i­na­tion.

His first cam­paign stop will be in Puerto Rico, where he will speak Mon­day at the Latino Vic­tory Fund’s an­nual sum­mit and meet with res­i­dents still strug­gling to re­cover from Hur­ri­cane Maria. Later in the week, his cam­paign said, he will go to New Hamp­shire.

“When my grand­mother got here al­most a hun­dred years ago,” Cas­tro said at the Plaza Guadalupe am­phithe­ater in San An­to­nio, “I’m sure that 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 joins Sen. El­iz­abeth War­ren of Mas­sachusetts, Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard of Hawaii, for­mer state Sen. Richard Ojeda of West Vir­ginia and for­mer Rep. John De­laney of Mary­land on the list of Democrats who have said defini­tively they will seek the party’s 2020 nom­i­na­tion. That list is ex­pected to grow con­sid­er­ably over time.

In his speech Satur­day, Cas­tro em­pha­sized education, call­ing for a na­tional ver­sion of the uni­ver­sal prekinder­garten pro­gram he es­tab­lished in San An­to­nio when he was mayor.

To fund the pro­gram there, he in­creased the city’s sales tax — a po­lit­i­cally risky propo­si­tion, but San An­to­nio vot­ers ap­proved it.

His mes­sage was firmly pro­gres­sive. He called for a higher min­i­mum wage, de­nounced po­lice killings of African-Amer­i­cans, which he de­scribed as “state vi­o­lence,” and em­braced the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment. He also con­demned Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, in­clud­ing the prac­tice of fam­ily sepa­ra­tion and the pro­posed bor­der wall, and de­clared that his first ex­ec­u­tive or­der if elected would be to re­join the Paris cli­mate ac­cords, which Trump left.

Ge­orge Ro­driguez, a con­ser­va­tive blog­ger whom Texas Repub­li­can leaders des­ig­nated as their spokesman on the an­nounce­ment, said Cas­tro did not “seem to be able to dis­tin­guish be­tween le­gal and il­le­gal im­mi­ga­tion.”

Ro­driguez also ar­gued that the San An­to­nio pre-K pro­gram, which was one of Cas­tro’s chief ac­com­plish­ments as mayor, had du­pli­cated ex­ist­ing pro­grams like Head Start. “How much of an ac­com­plish­ment that is is rather du­bi­ous,” he said.


For­mer San An­to­nio Mayor and U.S. Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment Sec­re­tary Julián Cas­tro speaks dur­ing an event Satur­day in San An­to­nio where he an­nounced his de­ci­sion to seek the 2020 Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

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