Obama protege Julian Castro set to join 2020 race

Obama protege Julian Castro set to join 2020 race

Julian Castro, the telegenic former mayor of San Antonio, Texas and Obama-era cabinet member, launched his bid to become the nation's first Hispanic president Saturday, emphasizing a message of hope and diversity at a time when Americans are locked in angry debate over immigration and border security.

Former San Antonio Mayor and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro waves as he arrives with his family to an event where he announced his decision to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, January 12, 2019, in San Antonio.

Mr Castro, who could end up being the only Latino in what is shaping up to be a crowded Democratic field, made immigration a centrepiece of his announcement in his hometown of San Antonio, 320 kilometres from the US-Mexico border. When my grandmother got here, nearly 100 years ago, I'm sure that she never could have imagined that, just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress, and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: "I am a candidate for president of the United States of America".

Castro, 44, will face a crowded field packed with powerhouse names.

Castro, whose grandmother came to the USA from Mexico in the 1920s, would be vying to become the party's first Hispanic-American nominee amid a field of that could swell to more than 20 candidates. I'm sure the party would love to see a Latino nominee, but we really seem to be in a holding pattern while they wait for the (cue dramatic music) First Female President.

He argued for securing the border in a "smart and humane way".

Until now only former congressman John Delaney has formally launched a campaign, more than a year ago.

"We say no to building a wall and say yes to building community", he added, to roars from the crowd.

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Julian Castro may already be behind in the polls, but no matter-he's boldly running for president.

His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a member of the US House of Representatives from Texas. The Spanish-style plaza in the Castro twins' boyhood neighborhood was packed with supporters who streamed through the gates between a mariachi band.

Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen.

One of Castro's major problems is that he really doesn't have much of a resume compared to some of the heavier hitters we're expecting to get into the race over the next few months. On top of that, keep in mind that Castro was a Hillary endorser in the 2016 race. The next entrant will be competing with Beto O'Rourke for donations from his home state because Julian Castro is also from Texas. In 2012, he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention - a step that had catapulted Barack Obama to national fame eight years earlier - telling the crowd about his experience as part of an immigrant family.

Castro was raised by a local Latina activist. Obama picked him to be housing secretary in 2014.

Castro: "If police in Charleston can arrest Dylann Roof.without hurting him, then don't tell me that Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, and Aiyana Jones, and Eric Garner, and Jason Pero, and Stephon Clark, and Sandra Bland shouldn't still be alive today".

Like other Democrats running, Mr Castro has said he will not accept money from political action committees tied to corporations and unions, and he has sought to introduce himself to voters as a champion for universal health care and affordable housing.

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