Julian Castro

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For the former president of Venezuela, see Julián Castro.
Julián Castro
Julián Castro's Official HUD Portrait.jpg
16th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Assumed office
July 28, 2014
President Barack Obama
Deputy Nani Coloretti
Preceded by Shaun Donovan
Mayor of San Antonio
In office
June 1, 2009 – July 22, 2014
Preceded by Phil Hardberger
Succeeded by Ivy Taylor
Personal details
Born (1974-09-16) September 16, 1974 (age 41)
San Antonio, Texas, USA
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Erica Lira
Relations Joaquin Castro (twin brother)
Children Carina
Cristián Julián

Maria "Rosie" Castro

Jessie Guzman
Alma mater Stanford University (B.A.)
Harvard Law School (J.D.)
Religion Roman Catholicism

Julián Castro (/ˌhliˈɑːn/ hoo-lee-AHN,[1] Spanish pronunciation: [xuˈljan]; born September 16, 1974) is a Mexican-American Democratic politician, who has been the United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development since July 28, 2014.

Previously Castro served three terms from 2009 to 2014 in the nonpartisan position of mayor of his native San Antonio, Texas, until he was tapped by U.S. President Barack H. Obama to join the Cabinet in Washington, D.C.

Castro's name is often mentioned as a possible nominee for vice president in 2016 under Hillary Rodham Clinton, for whom he has actively campaigned.[2]

Early life and family[edit]

Julián Castro[3] was born to Maria "Rosie" Castro and Jessie Guzman.[4] He is the identical twin brother of current United States Representative Joaquín Castro.[3] His mother was a Chicana political activist who helped establish the Chicano political party La Raza Unida,[5] and who ran unsuccessfully for the San Antonio City Council in 1971.[3] 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".[6] His father, Jessie Guzman, is a retired mathematics teacher and political activist. Never married, Rosie and Jessie separated when Castro and his brother were eight years old.[5] Castro's Texan roots trace back to 1920, when his grandmother, Victoria Castro, joined extended family members there as a six-year-old orphan from northern Mexico.[3]

In 2007, Castro married the former Erica Lira, an elementary school teacher. In 2009, their daughter Carina Castro was born.[5] On December 27, 2014, Castro announced via Twitter the birth of the couple's second child, a son, Cristián Julián Castro.[7]


Castro attended Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, where he played football, basketball and tennis; he also collected trading cards.[8] He skipped his sophomore year[9] and graduated in 1992,[10] ranking ninth in his class.[5] He had received an offer to play tennis at Trinity University, a NCAA Division III school in his hometown, but chose to attend Stanford University.[11]

He graduated from Stanford in 1996 with a bachelor's degree in political science and communications. He said he began thinking about entering politics while at Stanford,[5] where he and his brother launched their first campaigns and won student senate seats, tying for the highest number of votes.[3] 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".[12]

Castro entered Harvard Law School in 1997 and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 2000.[13][14] His brother graduated from both schools with him.[5] After law school, the two brothers worked for the law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld before starting their own firm in 2005.[15]

Political career[edit]

San Antonio city council and mayor[edit]

Julian Castro and his twin brother Representative Joaquin Castro at the LBJ Presidential Library.
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid meets with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Nominee Julián Castro on July 7, 2014

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, who won his council seat in 1975 at age 27. (Coincidentally, Cisneros was also later elected San Antonio's mayor then appointed secretary of HUD.) 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.[16] 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.[17]

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. He was defeated by approximately 4000 votes when Hardberger received 51.5% of the votes.[18][19]

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.[20] He became the fifth Latino mayor in the history of San Antonio. He was the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city.[21]

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.[22]

Castro also established Cafe College in 2010, offering college guidance to San Antonio-area students. In 2012 he led a voter referendum to expand pre-kindergarten education.[21]

Castro was re-elected in 2011, running against four candidates; he received 82.9% of the votes.[23]

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.[24][25]

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.[26]

He resigned as mayor effective July 22, 2014, so that he could take up his duties in Washington. The San Antonio City Council elected councilmember Ivy Taylor to replace him.[27]

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development[edit]

Secretary Castro introducing President Obama at an event on the recovering housing sector in Phoenix, Arizona in January 2015.

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. He was confirmed by the Senate on July 9, 2014, by a vote of 71-26 and replaced Shaun Donovan, who was nominated to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.[28] He took office on July 28, 2014 as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.[29] Following the announcement, Castro was discussed as a potential 2016 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.[30][31]

On July 28, 2014, his first day in office, Castro was honored at a reception called "Celebrating Latino Cabinet Members" hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.[32]

2016 Presidential election[edit]

On October 15, 2015, Castro endorsed Hillary Clinton for president. When Clinton was asked if Castro could be her pick for vice president, she said, "I am going to look really hard at him for anything, because that's how good he is."[33]

Discussion of Castro as the best candidate to run on the Democratic ticket with Hillary Clinton increased markedly in January 2016, as the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries approached.[34][35] In late January, Castro began to campaign for Clinton in Iowa, a move interpreted as a test of his appeal to the electorate. [36]

Political positions[edit]

Castro has been an advocate for LGBT rights and as mayor opposed the law in Texas (later overturned by the US Supreme Court) that denied legal recognition to same-sex marriages.[37]


  1. ^ Forsyth, Jim (July 31, 2012). "Democratic orator Castro symbolizes Hispanic rise". Reuters. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  2. ^ Bill Lambrecht, "Stumping for Clinton, Castro spurs VP talk", San Antonio Express-News, January 30, 2016, pp. 1, A6
  3. ^ a b c d e MacLaggan, Corrie (September 3, 2012). "For San Antonio mayor, reflections of American Dream in convention speech". Reuters. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Interview with Julian Castro". University of Texas San Antonio. November 9, 2005. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  5. ^ 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 March 22, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2009. 
  6. ^ Fernandez, Manny (September 3, 2012). "A Spotlight With Precedent Beckons a Mayor From Texas". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  7. ^ "It's a Boy! HUD Secr. Julian Castro, Wife, Welcome Second Child". NBC News. 
  8. ^ Baugh, Josh; Gary Martin (August 26, 2012). "Democrats view Castro as rising star". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  9. ^ Lee, Oliver (August 1, 2012). "7 Things to Know About San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro". TakePart. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  10. ^ Duel, Chris (September 1, 2012). "VIDEO & PHOTOS: Julián & Joaquín Castro’s Sendoff to Democratic National Convention". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved September 3, 2012. 
  11. ^ Garrett, Robert T. (September 3, 2012). "Texan Julián Castro brings life of contrasts to Democratic convention speech". The Dallas Morning News. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  12. ^ Chafets, Zev (May 9, 2010). "The Post-Hispanic Hispanic Politician". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved August 31, 2012. 
  13. ^ Welch, Ben (2002). "Their Politics Is Local". Harvard Law Bulletin. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Speaker Biographies". Harvard Law School. August 27, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  15. ^ "TRIBPEDIA: Julián Castro". "The Texas Tribune". Retrieved August 29, 2013. 
  16. ^ Milanese, Marisa (2001). "Man on a Fast Track". Stanford Magazine. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  17. ^ Russell, Jan Jarboe (May 1, 2010). "Alamo Heights". Texas Monthly. Retrieved September 4, 2012. 
  18. ^ "New mayor sets high goals for San Antonio". Houston Chronicle. June 9, 2005. Retrieved September 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ Welch, William M. (June 16, 2005). "San Antonio vote about issues". USA Today. 
  20. ^ Bexar County, Texas Primary Runoff Election May 27, 2014 Statistics, www.bexar.org
  21. ^ a b "Mayor Julian Castro". Office of the Mayor. City of San Antonio. Retrieved April 23, 2014. 
  22. ^ "What is SA2020?". sa2020.org. Retrieved April 29, 2014. 
  23. ^ Bexar County, Texas Joint General & Special May 14, 2011, www.bexar.org
  24. ^ Henderson, Nia-Malika (July 31, 2012). "Julian Castro, Latino mayor of San Antonio, to keynote DNC convention". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  25. ^ Tau, Byron (July 31, 2012). "Julian Castro to deliver DNC keynote". Politico. Retrieved August 1, 2012. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ Mendoza, Mariza. "Council members say goodbye to Julian Castro". ABC KSAT 12. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  28. ^ Superville, Darlene. May 2014 "White House: Obama to Add Julian Castro to Cabinet" Check |url= value (help). [dead link]
  29. ^ Gillman, Todd J. (July 25, 2014). "Julián Castro to take office Monday as Housing secretary". Dallas News. 
  30. ^ Cosman, Ben (May 23, 2014). "Obama Nominates Julián Castro for Cabinet Position, Fueling VP Speculation". The Wire. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  31. ^ Fuller, Jaime (May 23, 2014). "The 10 things you need to know about Julian Castro". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 27, 2014. 
  32. ^ O'Keefe, Ed. "Newly sworn-in HUD Secretary Castro gets his first D.C. party". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  33. ^ "Clinton to 'Look Hard' at HUD Secretary Julian Castro as Possible VP Pick". Newsweek. Retrieved October 16, 2015. 
  34. ^ Dovere, Edward-Isaac (22 January 2016). "Ready for Julián?". Politico. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  35. ^ "U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce endorses Julian Castro for vice president". Fox News Latino. 24 January 2016. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  36. ^ Linthicum, Kate (25 January 2016). "Julian Castro, campaigning for Hillary Clinton, embarks on a vice presidential test run in Iowa". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 25 January 2016. 
  37. ^ Forsyth, Jim. "EXCLUSIVE: Mayor Castro Says Texas Should Legalize Gay Marriage NOW". WOAI. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Phil Hardberger
Mayor of San Antonio
Succeeded by
Ivy Taylor
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
Most recent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Sylvia Mathews Burwell
as Secretary of Health and Human Services
Order of Precedence of the United States
as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Succeeded by
Anthony Foxx
as Secretary of Transportation
United States presidential line of succession
Preceded by
Sylvia Mathews Burwell
as Secretary of Health and Human Services
12th in line
as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Succeeded by
Anthony Foxx
as Secretary of Transportation