Julian Castro

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For the former president of Venezuela, see Julián Castro.
Julian Castro
Free Use Castro Image.JPG
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Taking office
July 2014
President Barack Obama
Succeeding Shaun Donovan
Mayor of San Antonio
Assumed office
June 1, 2009
Preceded by Phil Hardberger
Succeeded by TBD
Personal details
Born (1974-09-16) September 16, 1974 (age 39)
San Antonio, Texas, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Erica Lira
Children Carina Castro
Alma mater Stanford University
Harvard University
Religion Roman Catholicism

Julián Castro (/ˌhliˈɑːn/ hoo-lee-AHN,[1] Spanish pronunciation: [huˈlian];) (born September 16, 1974) is an American politician and the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, succeeding Shaun Donovan. Castro served as the Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, serving his three terms as mayor. In May 2014, he was nominated to serve as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and was confirmed by the Senate on July 9, 2014 by a vote of 71-26. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life and family[edit]

Julian Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas, on September 16, 1974,[2] to Maria "Rosie" Castro and Jessie Guzman.[3] He is the identical twin brother of current United States Representative Joaquín Castro.[2] His mother was a Chicana political activist who helped establish the Chicano political party La Raza Unida.[4] She ran unsuccessfully for San Antonio City Council in 1971.[2] Castro once stated, "My mother is probably the biggest reason that my brother and I are in public service. Growing up, she would take us to a lot of rallies and organizational meetings and other things that are very boring for an 8-, 9-, 10-year-old".[5] His father, Jessie Guzman, is a retired math teacher and political activist. Never married, Rosie and Jessie separated when Castro and his brother were eight years old.[4] Castro's roots trace back to 1920, when his grandmother, Victoria Castro, joined extended family members there as a six-year-old orphan from northern Mexico.[2]

In 2007 Castro married Erica Lira Castro, an elementary school teacher. In 2009 their daughter Carina Castro was born.[4]


Castro attended Thomas Jefferson High School, where he played football, basketball and tennis; he also collected trading cards.[6] He skipped his sophomore year[7] and graduated in 1992,[8] ranking ninth in his class.[4] He had received an offer to play tennis at Trinity University, a NCAA Division III school, but chose to attend Stanford University.[9]

He graduated from Stanford in 1996 with a bachelors degree in political science and communications. He said he began thinking about entering politics while at Stanford,[4] where he and his brother launched their first campaigns and won student senate seats, tying for the highest number of votes.[2] Castro has credited affirmative action for his admission into Stanford, telling The New York Times, "Joaquín and I got into Stanford because of affirmative action. I scored 1,210 on my SATs, which was lower than the median matriculating student. But I did fine in college and in law school. So did Joaquín. I’m a strong supporter of affirmative action because I’ve seen it work in my own life".[10]

Castro entered Harvard Law School in 1997 and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 2000.[11][12] His brother graduated from both schools with him.[4] After law school, the two brothers worked for the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld before starting their own firm in 2005.[13]

Political career[edit]

Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001, winning 61 percent of the vote against five challengers. At age 26 he was the youngest city councilman in San Antonio history, surpassing Henry Cisneros (later mayor of San Antonio and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development), who won his council seat in 1975 when he was 27 years old. Castro represented District 7, a precinct on the city’s west side with 115,000 residents. The population was 70 percent Hispanic and included a large number of senior citizens.[14] As a councilman from 2001 to 2005, he had opposed a PGA-approved golf course and large-scale real estate development on the city’s outer rim.[15]

Castro ran for Mayor of San Antonio in 2005 and was widely viewed as the front runner in a field that also included retired judge Phil Hardberger and conservative city councilman Carroll Schubert. However, he was defeated by approximately 4000 votes when Hardberger received 51.5% of the votes.[16][17]

Julian Castro and his twin brother Representative Joaquin Castro at the LBJ Presidential Library.

Castro ran for Mayor of San Antonio again in 2009, announcing his candidacy on November 5, 2008. Castro won the election on May 9, 2009 with 56.23% of the vote, his closest opponent being Trish DeBerry-Mejia.[18] He became the fifth Latino mayor in the history of San Antonio. He is the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city.[19]

In 2010 Castro created SA2020, a community-wide visioning effort. It generated a list of goals created by the people of San Antonio based on their collective vision for San Antonio in the year 2020. SA2020 then became a nonprofit organization tasked with turning that vision into a reality.[20]

In 2010 he established Cafe College, which offers college guidance to San Antonio area students. In 2012 he led a voter referendum to expand pre-kindergarten education.[19]

Castro was re-elected in 2011, running against four candidates; he received 82.9% of the votes.[21]

Castro gained national attention in 2012 when he was the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote address at a Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.[22][23]

In 2013, Castro was re-elected for a third term as Mayor of San Antonio. Castro won 67% of the votes but did very little campaigning, as none of his opponents made a serious attempt to win the mayoral election.[24]

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid meets with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Nominee Julián Castro on July 7, 2014

Castro has been an advocate for LGBT rights. He has openly stated that he is in opposition of the law in Texas that bans gay marriage.[25]

Obama Administration cabinet nomination[edit]

On May 22, 2014 the White House announced Castro as the nominee to be the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Barack Obama. If confirmed he will replace Shaun Donovan, who is expected to be nominated to be the director of the Office of Management and Budget.[26] Following the announcement, Castro was discussed as a potential 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.[27][28]


  1. ^ Forsyth, Jim (2012-07-31). "Democratic orator Castro symbolizes Hispanic rise". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  2. ^ a b c d e MacLaggan, Corrie (2012-09-03). "For San Antonio mayor, reflections of American Dream in convention speech". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  3. ^ "Interview with Julian Castro". University of Texas San Antonio. 2005-11-09. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Jefferson, Greg. "What makes Castro run? It depends who is asked". San Antonio Express-News. Archived from the original on 2009-03-22. Retrieved 2009-08-17. 
  5. ^ Fernandez, Manny (2012-09-03). "A Spotlight With Precedent Beckons a Mayor From Texas". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  6. ^ Baugh, Josh; Gary Martin (2012-08-26). "Democrats view Castro as rising star". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  7. ^ Lee, Oliver (2012-08-01). "7 Things to Know About San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro". TakePart. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  8. ^ Duel, Chris (2012-09-01). "VIDEO & PHOTOS: Julián & Joaquín Castro’s Sendoff to Democratic National Convention". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  9. ^ Garrett, Robert T. (2012-09-03). "Texan Julián Castro brings life of contrasts to Democratic convention speech". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  10. ^ Chafets, Zev (2010-05-09). "The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 2012-08-31. 
  11. ^ Welch, Ben (2002). "Their Politics Is Local". Harvard Law Bulletin. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  12. ^ "Speaker Biographies". Harvard Law School. 2012-08-27. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  13. ^ "TRIBPEDIA: Julián Castro". "The Texas Tribune". Retrieved 2013-08-29. 
  14. ^ Milanese, Marisa (2001). "'Man on a Fast Track'". Stanford Magazine. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  15. ^ Russell, Jan Jarboe (2010-05-01). "Alamo Heights". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  16. ^ "New mayor sets high goals for San Antonio". Houston Chronicle. June 9, 2005. Retrieved 5 September 2012. 
  17. ^ Welch, William M. (2005-06-16). "San Antonio vote about issues". USA Today. 
  18. ^ Bexar County, Texas Primary Runoff Election May 27, 2014 Statistics, www.bexar.org
  19. ^ a b "Mayor Julian Castro". Office of the Mayor. City of San Antonio. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "What is SA2020?". sa2020.org. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  21. ^ Bexar County, Texas Joint General & Special May 14, 2011, www.bexar.org
  22. ^ Henderson, Nia-Malika (July 31, 2012). "Julian Castro, Latino mayor of San Antonio, to keynote DNC convention". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  23. ^ Tau, Byron (July 31, 2012). "Julian Castro to deliver DNC keynote". Politico. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  24. ^ Baker, Brian (May 21, 2013). "Mayor of the Month for November 2012: Julian Castro Mayor of San Antonio, USA". CityMayors.com. Retrieved May 23, 2014. 
  25. ^ Forsyth, Jim. "EXCLUSIVE: Mayor Castro Says Texas Should Legalize Gay Marriage NOW". WOAI.com. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  26. ^ Superville, Darlene. May 2014 "White House: Obama to Add Julian Castro to Cabinet". 
  27. ^ Cosman, Ben (May 23, 2014). "Obama Nominates Julián Castro for Cabinet Position, Fueling VP Speculation". The Wire. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  28. ^ Fuller, Jaime (May 23, 2014). "The 10 things you need to know about Julian Castro". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Phil Hardberger
Mayor of San Antonio
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Shaun Donovan
United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Warner
Keynote Speaker of the Democratic National Convention