SAN ANTONIO – Surrounded by supporters, Julian Castro, former secretary for building and urban development, announced on Saturday his presidential race, becoming the third democratic candidate declared for 2020.
"We will do so that the promise of America is available to everyone in this 21st century, "he told the crowd.
Stanford University and Harvard Law School made the announcement in his hometown, where he was mayor from 2009 to 2014. His term ended when former President Barack Obama struck him to become secretary of the # 39; HUD.
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Still, Castro advertised his experience in the seventh largest city as a testament to his leadership skills and why he should make some history the first Latin president of the country.
He outlined climate change and universal health care as some of its main priorities.
Castro, who made stops in Iowa and Las Vegas days before his announcement, now joins what could be a crowded Democratic camp. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts launched an exploratory committee on December 31
Rep. John Delaney of Maryland is already presidential candidate, and Hawaii representative Tulsi Gabbard said in an interview Friday that she decided to run for the White House.
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If he wins, Castro would not be the first Latin president. At just 44, it would be one of the younger Americans to hold the seat.
However, critics say the long list of aspirants could easily cloud the native Texas.
"People here in San Antonio obviously know it … but if you leave Texas and ask a normal citizen in the street, and you say, Julian Castro, they'll probably say who?" Said Johnny Arredondo, a member of the Republican Club of Bexar County.
"Julian Castro made history by becoming one of the greatest heavyweights to ever be a presidential candidate," a spokesman for the Republican National Committee Michael Ahrens said in a statement. "He was a weak mayor who could not even handle HUD's secretary, which is obviously just another desperate attempt to become someone's running mate."
While Castro was well known in Texas politics, He was launched in the national spotlight when he delivered the 2012 Democratic National Convention program address. After finishing his tenure as HUD secretary, Castro was declared a potential vice presidential candidate for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. , but it was passed to Virginia senator Tim Kaine.
Since then, Castro's time in the national spotlight has declined, which is why the Texas A & M University's political science professor San Antonio, Andrew Sanders, says that Castro's first announcement is a good move.
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"He has been out of the limelight for a while now, his experience with the government is very limited compared to other names that might appear on the field, so it's probably a wise move for him. get his name out there on this point, "said Sanders
Still, Castro's supporters believe that the three-term mayor has what it takes to conquer the country's highest public office.
"It is the epitome of the American dream … Julian is a human being guided as he is and wants to win, and, at every stage of his life, he has been a winner. necessary to win the elections, "said political strategist Christian Archer, who led the successful race for mayor of Castro.
Castro emphasized the preservation of public housing, investment in new housing at affordable prices and efforts to make the rental market more accessible as successes during his tenure as HUD secretary.
As mayor, Castro passed Pre-K 4 SA, an elite pre-K program, which became a reference line for the candidate.
Others, however, have beaten Castro's actions as extreme.
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"Voters outside San Antonio and Texas must be aware that Castro has left the city with deep debt, with a bloated bureaucracy. .. Julian Castro can be described as a Hispanic version of Obama, "said George Rodriguez, spokesman for the Bexar County Republican Party.
Archer recognizes that Castro's campaign will be faced with challenges, but has hope.  "I think he has a long way to go, but then there's this next generation of leaders, And, I think if people take a moment and listen to Julian Castro, what he did in the past, but even more important for his vision for the future, I think he will catch fire, "Archer said.