Published: Sun, January 13, 2019
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Julian Castro to announce 2020 presidential campaign decision

Julian Castro to announce 2020 presidential campaign decision

Former United States Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro formally announced his presidential campaign on Saturday at an event in Texas.

Castro is the identical twin brother of Joaquín Castro, who now represents Texas's 20th congressional district.

"Well, I'm not the frontrunner", Castro, 44, told NBC News. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to Congress, said this week she is planning a bid, too.

In a Saturday morning speech at San Antonio's Plaza Guadalupe, Castro denounced President Donald Trump's immigration policies-including his demand for billions of dollars in border wall funding that's produced the longest government shutdown in us history-and his charaterization of refugees from Central and South America arriving at the Southern border as "a national security crisis".

"I am a candidate for president of the United States", the 44-year-old Castro told a crowd in San Antonio's historic Guadalupe Plaza, during a speech that frequently invoked the immigrant heritage that brought his family to the U.S. from Mexico. Turn! Turn!" played, Castro started with, "Good morning. Former Maryland Representative John Delaney also has formally entered the race.

The impasse over paying for a border wall that Trump made a central part of his 2016 campaign has led to the partial federal closure.

In an interview with NBC News on Friday, Castro said: "Mine is an immigrant story". "People want to know that somebody has the right experience and that they have the right vision to make sure that their family can succeed in this country". He said that if he is elected, his first executive action would be to recommit the U.S.to the Paris Climate Accord that President Trump abandoned a year ago.

Castro, whose grandmother came to the United States from Mexico in the 1920s, would be vying to become the party's first Hispanic-American nominee amid a field of that could swell to more than 20 candidates. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke is doing little to dim speculation that he might jump into a field that has no clear front-runner.

Castro formed an exploratory committee in December. Ted Cruz turned O'Rourke into a national Democratic celebrity.

A native of San Antonio, Castro was elected to the City Council in 2001 at age 26 - its youngest member in history - and became mayor eight years later.

The groups-including Presente.org, MoveOn, DailyKos, Rootstrikers and the Working Families Party-charged that Castro's record at HUD was disqualifying. It wasn't long before Democrats nationally embraced him as a star in the making, particularly one from Texas, where a booming Hispanic population is rapidly changing the state's demographics and improving the party's fortunes. Obama picked him to be housing secretary in 2014.

Castro, who was considered on the short list to be Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 election, has been out of the political spotlight for the past two years, at a time when politics has become all-consuming across America.

Urging the enthusiastic crowd to look around the blue-collar neighborhood where he grew up, Castro said, "There are no front-runners that are born here, but I've always believed that with big dreams and hard work, anything is possible in this country".

Like other Democrats running, Mr Castro has said he will not accept money from political action committees tied to corporations and unions, and he has sought to introduce himself to voters as a champion for universal health care and affordable housing.

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