Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and housing secretary under the Obama administration, on Saturday joined the increasingly crowded field of candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
As Castro, 44, stood in the working-class neighborhood where he grew up, he promised to expand prekindergarten programs, make the first two years of college more affordable, expand Medicare to all Americans, overhaul the criminal justice system and immigration laws, increase the minimum wage and make housing more affordable. If elected, he would be the nation’s first Latino president.
“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership. Because it’s time for new energy. And it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities that I’ve had are available for every American,” Castro told hundreds of supporters packed into San Antonio’s Plaza Guadalupe.
The announcement was intended to introduce Castro to an audience beyond San Antonio. He arrived at the plaza on the No. 68 city bus, the same one he and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), rode to school as children. He pointedly noted that “no front-runners” are born in the neighborhood. He told the crowd about the most influential women in his life: His single mother, Rosie Castro, a political activist, and his grandmother, Victoria Castro, who as a 7-year-old orphan immigrated to the United States from Mexico in 1922. He announced his decision in both English and in Spanish.