Former HUD Secretary Julian Castro’s Presidential Aspirations Focus on Putting People First

May 31, 2019 by TWN Staff
Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, left, speaks during a visit to a Chicano Studies class in Moore Hall auditorium at UCLA in Los Angeles on March 4, 2019. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Candidate: Julian Castro

State of Residence: Texas

Campaign Website: https://www.julianforthefuture.com

Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro, left, speaks during a visit to a Chicano Studies class in Moore Hall auditorium at UCLA in Los Angeles on March 4, 2019. (Francine Orr/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Short Bio:

Julián Castro was sworn in as the 16th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on July 28, 2014.

Before HUD, Castro served as Mayor of San Antonio. During his tenure, he became known as a national leader in urban development. In 2010, the City launched the “Decade of Downtown,” an initiative to spark investment in San Antonio’s center city and older neighborhoods. This effort has attracted $350 million in private sector investment, which will produce more than 2400 housing units by the end of 2014. In addition, San Antonio’s East Side is the only neighborhood in America that has received funding to implement major projects under three key Obama Administration revitalization initiatives: Choice Neighborhoods, Promise Neighborhoods and the Byrne Criminal Justice Program.

In March 2010, Castro was named to the World Economic Forum’s list of Young Global Leaders. Later that year, Time magazine placed him on its “40 under 40” list of rising stars in American politics.

Previously, Castro served as a member of the San Antonio City Council. He is also an attorney and worked at Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld before starting his own practice.

Secretary Castro received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1996, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2000. He and his wife, Erica, have a daughter, Carina. [Obama White House Archives]

Fun Fact: Julian Castro has a twin brother, Joaquin, who serves as the Congressman for Texas’ 20th congressional district.

On the Issues

Health Care: Create a universal health care system, “Medicare for all.” Castro has called for “universal health care,” also referring to it as “Medicare for all.” He indicated he would consider paying for such a system by raising taxes on corporations and on the wealthiest “0.05, 0.5 or 1 percent” of Americans. [PBS]

Trade & Agriculture: Renegotiate NAFTA. As mayor of San Antonio, Castro strongly supported NAFTA and expanding the trade deal. He has said that he believes the agreement should be renegotiated to strengthen worker and environmental protections. [PBS]

Jobs/Economy/Taxes: Castro has pushed for economic equality and, as mayor of San Antonio, showed an ability to get along with Republicans and conservative-leaning business communities, according to Trinity University political science professor David Crockett.

The city has blossomed into an extremely desirable place to live, with a low cost of living and a healthy economy. Jobs in tech and cybersecurity have made San Antonio “the nation’s second-fastest-growing population of millennials,” according to The New York Times. San Antonio’s wage growth has surpassed the national average and housing is 13 percent cheaper than the national average, according to the newspaper.

On the campaign trail, Castro has attempted to put his liberal economic ideas into action. Like a number of Democratic candidates, Castro has said his campaign will not accept donations from corporate PACs. He has also pledged to pay interns $15 an hour and support a staff union.

In January, Castro announced his support for Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’ idea to increase tax rates for the top earners in the U.S. “Oh, I can support folks at the top paying their fair share,” Castro said on ABC’s This Week.  

“There was a time in this country where the top marginal tax rate was over 90 percent,” Castro said. “Even during Reagan’s era in the 1980s, it was around 50 percent.”

He also said taxes should support programs like Medicare-for-all and suggested raising the corporate tax rate to ensure companies “pay their fair share.” [Elle]

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