For­mer HUD chief Cas­tro an­nounces bid for pres­i­dent

Latino would be among youngest in Dems’ field

USA TODAY Weekend Extra - - FRONT PAGE - Christal Hayes

Ju­lian Cas­tro, a for­mer Obama Cab­i­net mem­ber and San An­to­nio mayor, an­nounced Satur­day that he would run for pres­i­dent.

On­stage with his fam­ily, in­clud­ing his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Cas­tro, in his home­town of San An­to­nio, the Demo­crat de­clared his bid to try and take the White House from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump in 2020 and ful­fill a destiny 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.

Cas­tro, who spoke in both English

and Span­ish, rolled out his cam­paign slo­gan: One Na­tion. One Destiny.

Cas­tro’s an­nounce­ment at the his­toric Plaza Guadalupe came one day after Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gab­bard, 37, said she was run­ning for pres­i­dent.

Cas­tro, 44, and Gab­bard are two of the youngest can­di­dates in what is ex­pected to be a large Demo­cratic field. Cas­tro may also be the most well­known Latino fig­ure in a race that’s likely to re­volve around im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy. U.S. Sen. El­iz­abeth War­ren, DMass., also has taken ini­tial steps to­ward a pres­i­den­tial can­di­dacy.

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 re­verse a Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion de­ci­sion and re­join the Paris Cli­mate Ac­cord.

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. “We’re go­ing to make sure that the prom­ise of Amer­ica is avail­able to ev­ery­one.”

Obama picked Cas­tro to take over the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Ur­ban De­vel­op­ment in 2014. Two years later, Cas­tro was on the short list of Demo­cratic nom­i­nee Hillary Clin­ton’s po­ten­tial run­ning mates. He quickly be­came a star in the party, giv­ing a keynote ad­dress at the Demo­cratic Na­tional Con­ven­tion in 2012.

Repub­li­cans have moved quickly to crit­i­cize the Demo­cratic can­di­dates. Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee, called Cas­tro “a weak mayor who couldn’t even han­dle be­ing HUD sec­re­tary. This is ob­vi­ously just an­other des­per­ate at­tempt to be­come some­one else’s run­ning mate.”

SUZANNE CORDEIRO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Ju­lian Cas­tro an­nounces his can­di­dacy Satur­day in San An­to­nio.

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