Former Obama Cabinet Member Julián Castro Announces 2020 Presidential Bid

Julian Castro

Julián Castro, the federal housing secretary under Barack Obama, is expected to announce his presidential bid on Saturday with an address in his home city of San Antonio, Texas, where he served for five years as mayor.

"When my grandmother got here nearly 100 years ago, I'm sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later..."

"As president, my first executive order will recommit the United States to the Paris climate accord", Castro vowed, referencing the global deal that Trump ditched just months after taking office.

Castro, 44, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant who would be the first Hispanic elected president, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama and has always been viewed as a rising star in the party. Two dozen others have signaled their intentions to do the same.

Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said in an emailed statement that Castro "has made history by becoming one of the biggest lightweights to ever run for president". Speaking to the crowd on San Antonio's predominantly Hispanic and working class West-Side, Castro urged political observers to not count him out.

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"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. He was also famously considered a frontrunner to be former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016, but she ultimately went with Senator Tim Kaine.

His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a member of the US House of Representatives from Texas.

Two days after the president visited the border to promote his promised wall, Castro mocked Trump for claiming that the US faces an "invasion" from its ally to the south. During Castro's trip this past week to Nevada, one state Latino business leader told Castro that he should again be a top contender for vice president if his campaign falls short.

Another Democrat, 37-year-old Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii - a lifelong surfer - announced Friday that she too will seek the party's presidential nomination. He also said that he disagrees with the administration's goal of detaining families together as they seek asylum or refugee status, saying that other approaches such as using ankle monitors are more humane and can be effective to track people who enter the US and are awaiting court proceedings. The Spanish-style plaza in the Castro twins' boyhood neighborhood was packed with supporters who streamed through the gates between a mariachi band.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California this past week published a memoir, a staple of presidential candidates.

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Castro formed an exploratory committee in December. Castro is among the first in a long list of expected Democratic candidates to officially announce their bids.

The two were born into a politically active family. Joaquin Castro's position on the House Intelligence Committee has made him a frequent public critic of the president.

Neither Gonzalez nor Reyes were sure what impact former congressman Beto O'Rourke, a fellow Texan, would have on Castro's chances were he to run.

"If I decide to run, it would be because I believe I have a compelling message and I'm going to work hard and get to the voters and I believe I can be successful", Castro told the AP. He also said he doesn't plan to accept any PAC money for his campaign.

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