Julián Castro

Former Housing and Urban Development secretary
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Julian Castro dropped out of the presidential race on January 2, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Castro is the only Latino in the 2020 field and is running a campaign focused on addressing immigration and education. He joined Obama’s Cabinet in 2014.
Stanford University, B.A., 1996; Harvard Law School, J.D., 2000
September 16, 1974
Erica Castro
Roman Catholic
Cristian and Carina
Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, 2017;
HUD secretary, 2014-2017;
San Antonio mayor, 2009-2014;
Founded the Law Offices of Julián Castro, PLLC, 2005;
San Antonio City Council, 2001-2005;
Attorney at the San Antonio office of law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, 2000-2002


Julian Castro Fast Facts
Updated 4:17 PM ET, Tue Aug 4, 2020
Here is a look at the life of Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary and 2020 presidential candidate. Personal Birth date: September 16, 1974 Birth place: San Antonio, Texas Birth name: Julián Castro Father: Jesse Guzman, political activist and educator Mother: Maria "Rosie" del Rosario Castro, political activist and college administrator Marriage: Erica (Lira) Castro (2007-present) Children: Cristian, 2014; Carina, 2009 Education: Stanford University, B.A. in political science and communications, 1996; Harvard Law School, J.D., 2000 Religion: Roman Catholic Other Facts His first name is pronounced "hoo-lee-AHN." Castro's parents never married and separated when he was 8 years old. He was raised primarily by his mother and his grandmother, Victoria Castro. Has spoken out in favor of same-sex marriage and of affirmative action, even telling The New York Times that it helped him get into Stanford. Castro does not speak fluent Spanish, writing in his 2018 memoir that his mother spoke English at home, like many immigrants at the time, and that he declined to take Spanish classes in school because he spoke it with his grandmother. Castro is one minute older than his identical twin brother, Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro. Timeline 1994 - Works as a White House intern. 2000-2002 - Attorney at the San Antonio office of law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. 2001-2005 - Councilman representing District 7 on the San Antonio City Council. At age 26, Castro is the youngest councilman ever elected in the city's history. 2005 - Founds the Law Offices of Julián Castro, PLLC. June 2005 - Narrowly loses to former Judge Phil Hardberger in the San Antonio mayor's race. May 9, 2009 - Elected mayor of San Antonio with 56.23% of the vote. June 1, 2009-July 22, 2014 - Serves as San Antonio mayor, winning reelection in 2011 and 2013. September 4, 2012 - In Charlotte, North Carolina, delivers the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, becoming the first Latino to do so. May 23, 2014 - President Barack Obama announces plans to nominate Castro as the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). July 9, 2014 - The US Senate confirms Castro as HUD secretary in a 71-26 vote. July 28, 2014-January 20, 2017 - Serves as the 16th secretary of HUD. July 18, 2016 - The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) says that Castro violated the Hatch Act, a federal law prohibiting federal workers acting in their official capacity from attempting to influence elections, when he praised Hillary Clinton in an April interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric. In his response, Castro acknowledged that he'd violated the act. September 1, 2017 - Joins the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin as the Dean's Distinguished Fellow and Fellow of the Dávila Chair in International Trade Policy. October 2018 - Castro's memoir, "An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream," is published. December 12, 2018 - Announces the launch of a presidential exploratory committee. January 12, 2019 - Officially announces his bid for the Democratic nomination for president in San Antonio. January 2, 2020 - Castro announces the end of his campaign via Twitter. January 6, 2020 - Castro endorses Elizabeth Warren for president. July 10, 2020 - Castro announces his stepmother, Alice Guzman, died of Covid-19 on July 9, 2020.


climate crisis
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Castro released a “People and Planet First Plan” in September 2019, calling for a combined $10 trillion in federal, state, local and private investments over 10 years to shift the US to clean energy. Like other candidates, Castro ties the shift from fossil fuels to job creating, estimating that the influx of investment will create 10 million jobs over a decade. But Castro’s plan also focuses on the racial impacts of climate change, citing a series of studies that found those most directly impacted by issues like toxic waste, asthma and pollution are more likely to be people of color and more vulnerable communities. Under the plan, coal-generated electricity will be phased out by 2030 and replaced by zero-emission sources and all new light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero-emissions. By 2045, the United States will be net-zero emissions and by 2050, Castro forecasts, the world will be at net-zero carbon emissions, led by the United States. Castro has proposed ending subsidies to oil companies and has backed the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. He has also pushed relying more on wind and solar energy, two industries growing in his home state. Castro says his first executive action would recommit the US to staying in the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. More on Castro’s climate crisis policy
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Castro in October 2019 unveiled a “Unions for All” plan that aims to more than double union membership. It would require large, publicly traded corporations to reserve at least one-third of board seats for workers, who would be elected by employees who are not managers. His plan would prohibit anti-competitive labor practices, including noncompete agreements “that limit worker freedom and mobility.” He would end “employee misclassification,” according to the plan, which affects short-term contract workers and “gig economy” workers. A parallel “Dignity for Domestic Workers” plan includes a push for passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act, which would strengthen overtime protections, end exclusion from anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws, and include health and safety protections. The plan would establish portable benefits, including paid family leave, medical leave and health care. It would protect workers who report crimes or labor violations from retaliation from legal authorities or employers. Castro supports raising the top marginal tax rate, though he hasn’t specified a number, and has called for undoing Trump’s 2017 tax package. He has said that he believes it “makes sense to renegotiate agreements like” the North American Free Trade Agreement, the deal with Canada and Mexico, but that he disagreed with “folks who think that we should completely scrap our trade agreements.” He’s also said he did not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation deal negotiated under Obama that Trump withdrew from in one of his first acts as President, as it was originally negotiated. More on Castro’s economic policy
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Castro’s plan calls for universal prekindergarten, an issue that was central to his time as mayor of San Antonio. The plan also calls for: federal investment to combat teacher attrition, shortages and underpayment; student loan debt revisions; and free tuition for public colleges and universities and for technical and vocational education. Castro has proposed investing $150 billion in upgrading high school facilities, creating programs so students have the chance to earn college credit in high school at no additional cost and increasing the prevalence of trade programs in high school. More on Castro’s education policy
gun violence
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Castro has been a longtime gun control advocate and currently supports three key policies: renewing the ban on so-called assault weapons, curbing the use of high-capacity magazines and instituting universal background checks. Castro, as part of his education plan, has supported the creation of so-called “red flag” laws, which allow families and police to petition a judge to temporarily block someone’s access to firearms if there is credible concern they might hurt themselves or others. Castro, when speaking about the issue, often leans on the fact he is from Texas, a state that embraces gun culture and hunting. But he’s argued that it is possible to “have common sense gun reform and still have the Second Amendment in place.”
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Castro supports the single-payer “Medicare for All” proposal, which would create a national government-backed health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry, and has suggested paying for it by raising the top marginal income tax rate. He has said, however, that while people should “have the ability to enroll in Medicare,” they should also be allowed to have private plans or supplemental insurance. Castro did not raise his hand during the first Democratic debate when asked if he supports abolishing private insurance. “I believe that Medicare should be available to all who want it, but if you want to have a supplemental private health insurance plan that is strong, then I think you should be allowed to do that,” he told CNN in June 2019.
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In April 201, Castro released his People First Immigration plan, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as minors – as well as other undocumented immigrants who “live, work and raise families in communities throughout the United States” and immigrants who are in the country under temporary protected status. The plan also aims to expand the number of asylum seekers admitted to the United States, strengthen the family migration system and decriminalize crossing illegally into the United States. His plan would reorganize Immigration and Customs Enforcement by “splitting the agency in half and re-assigning enforcement functions” within it. He has not called for abolishing the agency but does want an investigation into its role, along with those of Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department, in the Trump administration’s policies that led to family separations at the border. Castro succinctly laid out his stance on immigration during the first Democratic debate, saying he would do away with the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including the ones that limit the number of asylum seekers at ports of entry and force them to wait in Mexico for the adjudication of their cases. More on Castro’s immigration policy


A huge moment for US democracy
Updated 9:36 PM ET, Tue Jul 27, 2021
Does truth even matter anymore?  That question lies at the core of the House Select Committee investigation on the January 6 insurrection that just opened on Capitol Hill with searing testimony from police officers beaten by the mob Donald Trump incited. It took six months for the House to probe the sacking of the citadel of US democracy because Trump's tame Republicans and fellow election fraud liars made extraordinary efforts to stifle an accounting for history.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made repeated concessions in getting a deal for a nonpartisan, independent commission composed of nonpoliticians to investigate one of the darkest chapters in US history. But after Trump publicly criticized it, House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy helped scupper the deal agreed to by his own side. When Pelosi blocked two of McCarthy's picks for the select committee she set up instead -- both of them promote Trump's false claims of vote fraud -- he boycotted the panel entirely.  There are two Republicans on the committee -- Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming (yes, that Cheney family) and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois -- who are likely sacrificing their promising careers to stand up to Trump's demagoguery. Cheney is one of the most conservative Republicans in the House, but she argued that the principles at stake justified her joining Democrats on the committee. "If those responsible are not held accountable and if Congress does not act responsibly, this will remain a cancer on our constitutional republic, undermining the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democratic system," she said on Tuesday. "We will face the threat of more violence in the months to come and another January 6 every four years."  But there is no hope that the committee will change America's political dynamic. McCarthy and his fellow Trump cult members are actually blaming Pelosi for the invasion of the Capitol -- saying she failed to provide sufficient security -- even though such responsibilities are beyond her purview. Let's remember the truth: A sitting President lied about his fair election defeat, called a crowd to Washington, told it to "fight like hell" and watched as it smashed its way into Congress to disrupt its certification of Joe Biden's presidency.  The opening of the select committee's probe underscored that the most important division in US politics these days is not between conservatives and liberals. It's between those who guard democracy and those who would destroy it for power.  Is it, finally, mission accomplished? Three days after the September 11 attacks 20 years ago, President George W. Bush declared a war on terror from a pulpit in Washington's National Cathedral. "This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger. This conflict was begun on the timing and terms of others; it will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing," Bush said.  That hour is now.  President Joe Biden announced he will end the US combat mission in Iraq before the end of the year after also halting America's involvement in its longest war, in Afghanistan. Both wars, the one in Iraq most controversially, spun out of 9/11 and Bush's launching of a global war on terrorism and those who harbor terrorists, and to prevent radical Islamic groups getting weapons of mass destruction. The fact that WMDs were never found in Saddam Hussein's Iraq helped make the war one of the worst US foreign policy failures.  Biden's Iraq move is largely semantic. Much of the US mission there is already confined to an advisory, intelligence and training role -- designed to stem any large-scale return of ISIS. But the announcement, twinned with the Afghan decision, is important nonetheless because it represents the shifting of an era in foreign policy.  Bush and his fellow hawks defined the fight against radical Islamic terrorism as the dominant battle of the epoch. Yet 20 years later, the picture has shifted. America now sees its biggest threat coming from China.Washington hopes to keep the lid on global terrorism with arms-length operations and air and drone strikes in any number of countries without getting bogged down in wars that last several decades. Sending hundreds of thousands of troops to the Middle East, many to die or be maimed, now seems, from the perspective of time, to have been an approach always destined to fail.  But the other lesson from the first 20 years of the 21st century is that decisions made by foreign policy sages in Washington can no longer impose America's will on the world. Just like Biden, US enemies set their own hours of choosing too.