Last Wednesday, the Senate voted to confirm Democrat Julian Castro as the new United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The position was once held by President Barack Obama, and now Castro becomes the second Latino in President Obama‘s Cabinet, joining Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in such a coveted position.
The rising Latino politician was voted into the position and into President Obama‘s Cabinet with 71-27 in favor of his election. A total of 18 Republicans supported Castro succeeding Shaun Donovan as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Serving three terms as the Mayor of San Antonio, Castro, aged 39, gained recognition as a rising, prominent politician when he was the keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
The nomination and confirmation of Castro came after the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius decided to resign from her position. With Sebelius’s resignation, President Obama was prompted to give her position to the previous HUD secretary Donovan.
President Obama’s nomination of Castro moved swiftly through the Senate despite Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) recently announcing wanting to make changes when it comes to procedural rules that govern any presidential nominee’s confirmation.
The San Antonio, Texas native was educated at Stanford University, with his twin brother Congressman Joaquín Castro, and then at Harvard Law School. It was during his time at Stanford that Castro notes where his goal of entering politics began.
“When I left San Antonio and could appreciate both what makes San Antonio special and its considerable deficiencies, or challenges, that’s when I began thinking about public office.”
After completing his education, Castro returned to San Antonio in 2000 and within his first year back he won the District 7 seat as its councilman at the age of 26. From his first political win, Castro would go on to become Mayor of Antonio and then a rising political figure in Washington.
You can possibly link Castro’s political and community service thrive to his mother, a Chicano political activist who inspired her sons to enter public service.
One of the people who helped establish La Raza Unida, a Chicano Political Party, Rosie Castro was a single mother who came to the United States from Mexico and would take her sons to rallies and organizational meetings that—although bored her sons when they were children—would eventually became a major influence for them later on.
“My mother is probably the biggest reason that my brother and I are in public service,” said Castro, in an interview back in 2012. “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. What I did get from my mother was a very strong sense that if you did public policy right, and you did well in public service, that it’s a positive influence on people’s lives.”
From the political upbringing he was exposed to thanks to his mother, Castro’s continued climb in the political world could one day—maybe—see to the United States of America seeing its first Latino President.