Julián Castro

Former Housing and Urban Development secretary
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Julian Castro dropped out of the presidential race on January 2, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Castro is the only Latino in the 2020 field and is running a campaign focused on addressing immigration and education. He joined Obama’s Cabinet in 2014.
Stanford University, B.A., 1996; Harvard Law School, J.D., 2000
September 16, 1974
Erica Castro
Roman Catholic
Cristian and Carina
Fellow, University of Texas at Austin, 2017;
HUD secretary, 2014-2017;
San Antonio mayor, 2009-2014;
Founded the Law Offices of Julián Castro, PLLC, 2005;
San Antonio City Council, 2001-2005;
Attorney at the San Antonio office of law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld, 2000-2002


Julian Castro Fast Facts
Updated 4:17 PM ET, Tue Aug 4, 2020
Here is a look at the life of Julián Castro, former Housing and Urban Development secretary and 2020 presidential candidate. Personal Birth date: September 16, 1974 Birth place: San Antonio, Texas Birth name: Julián Castro Father: Jesse Guzman, political activist and educator Mother: Maria "Rosie" del Rosario Castro, political activist and college administrator Marriage: Erica (Lira) Castro (2007-present) Children: Cristian, 2014; Carina, 2009 Education: Stanford University, B.A. in political science and communications, 1996; Harvard Law School, J.D., 2000 Religion: Roman Catholic Other Facts His first name is pronounced "hoo-lee-AHN." Castro's parents never married and separated when he was 8 years old. He was raised primarily by his mother and his grandmother, Victoria Castro. Has spoken out in favor of same-sex marriage and of affirmative action, even telling The New York Times that it helped him get into Stanford. Castro does not speak fluent Spanish, writing in his 2018 memoir that his mother spoke English at home, like many immigrants at the time, and that he declined to take Spanish classes in school because he spoke it with his grandmother. Castro is one minute older than his identical twin brother, Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro. Timeline 1994 - Works as a White House intern. 2000-2002 - Attorney at the San Antonio office of law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. 2001-2005 - Councilman representing District 7 on the San Antonio City Council. At age 26, Castro is the youngest councilman ever elected in the city's history. 2005 - Founds the Law Offices of Julián Castro, PLLC. June 2005 - Narrowly loses to former Judge Phil Hardberger in the San Antonio mayor's race. May 9, 2009 - Elected mayor of San Antonio with 56.23% of the vote. June 1, 2009-July 22, 2014 - Serves as San Antonio mayor, winning reelection in 2011 and 2013. September 4, 2012 - In Charlotte, North Carolina, delivers the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention, becoming the first Latino to do so. May 23, 2014 - President Barack Obama announces plans to nominate Castro as the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). July 9, 2014 - The US Senate confirms Castro as HUD secretary in a 71-26 vote. July 28, 2014-January 20, 2017 - Serves as the 16th secretary of HUD. July 18, 2016 - The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) says that Castro violated the Hatch Act, a federal law prohibiting federal workers acting in their official capacity from attempting to influence elections, when he praised Hillary Clinton in an April interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric. In his response, Castro acknowledged that he'd violated the act. September 1, 2017 - Joins the LBJ School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin as the Dean's Distinguished Fellow and Fellow of the Dávila Chair in International Trade Policy. October 2018 - Castro's memoir, "An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream," is published. December 12, 2018 - Announces the launch of a presidential exploratory committee. January 12, 2019 - Officially announces his bid for the Democratic nomination for president in San Antonio. January 2, 2020 - Castro announces the end of his campaign via Twitter. January 6, 2020 - Castro endorses Elizabeth Warren for president. July 10, 2020 - Castro announces his stepmother, Alice Guzman, died of Covid-19 on July 9, 2020.


climate crisis
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Castro released a “People and Planet First Plan” in September 2019, calling for a combined $10 trillion in federal, state, local and private investments over 10 years to shift the US to clean energy. Like other candidates, Castro ties the shift from fossil fuels to job creating, estimating that the influx of investment will create 10 million jobs over a decade. But Castro’s plan also focuses on the racial impacts of climate change, citing a series of studies that found those most directly impacted by issues like toxic waste, asthma and pollution are more likely to be people of color and more vulnerable communities. Under the plan, coal-generated electricity will be phased out by 2030 and replaced by zero-emission sources and all new light- and medium-duty vehicles will be zero-emissions. By 2045, the United States will be net-zero emissions and by 2050, Castro forecasts, the world will be at net-zero carbon emissions, led by the United States. Castro has proposed ending subsidies to oil companies and has backed the Green New Deal, the broad plan to address renewable-energy infrastructure and climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. He has also pushed relying more on wind and solar energy, two industries growing in his home state. Castro says his first executive action would recommit the US to staying in the Paris climate accord, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon. More on Castro’s climate crisis policy
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Castro in October 2019 unveiled a “Unions for All” plan that aims to more than double union membership. It would require large, publicly traded corporations to reserve at least one-third of board seats for workers, who would be elected by employees who are not managers. His plan would prohibit anti-competitive labor practices, including noncompete agreements “that limit worker freedom and mobility.” He would end “employee misclassification,” according to the plan, which affects short-term contract workers and “gig economy” workers. A parallel “Dignity for Domestic Workers” plan includes a push for passage of the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights Act, which would strengthen overtime protections, end exclusion from anti-harassment and anti-discrimination laws, and include health and safety protections. The plan would establish portable benefits, including paid family leave, medical leave and health care. It would protect workers who report crimes or labor violations from retaliation from legal authorities or employers. Castro supports raising the top marginal tax rate, though he hasn’t specified a number, and has called for undoing Trump’s 2017 tax package. He has said that he believes it “makes sense to renegotiate agreements like” the North American Free Trade Agreement, the deal with Canada and Mexico, but that he disagreed with “folks who think that we should completely scrap our trade agreements.” He’s also said he did not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation deal negotiated under Obama that Trump withdrew from in one of his first acts as President, as it was originally negotiated. More on Castro’s economic policy
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Castro’s plan calls for universal prekindergarten, an issue that was central to his time as mayor of San Antonio. The plan also calls for: federal investment to combat teacher attrition, shortages and underpayment; student loan debt revisions; and free tuition for public colleges and universities and for technical and vocational education. Castro has proposed investing $150 billion in upgrading high school facilities, creating programs so students have the chance to earn college credit in high school at no additional cost and increasing the prevalence of trade programs in high school. More on Castro’s education policy
gun violence
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Castro has been a longtime gun control advocate and currently supports three key policies: renewing the ban on so-called assault weapons, curbing the use of high-capacity magazines and instituting universal background checks. Castro, as part of his education plan, has supported the creation of so-called “red flag” laws, which allow families and police to petition a judge to temporarily block someone’s access to firearms if there is credible concern they might hurt themselves or others. Castro, when speaking about the issue, often leans on the fact he is from Texas, a state that embraces gun culture and hunting. But he’s argued that it is possible to “have common sense gun reform and still have the Second Amendment in place.”
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Castro supports the single-payer “Medicare for All” proposal, which would create a national government-backed health care plan and essentially eliminate the private insurance industry, and has suggested paying for it by raising the top marginal income tax rate. He has said, however, that while people should “have the ability to enroll in Medicare,” they should also be allowed to have private plans or supplemental insurance. Castro did not raise his hand during the first Democratic debate when asked if he supports abolishing private insurance. “I believe that Medicare should be available to all who want it, but if you want to have a supplemental private health insurance plan that is strong, then I think you should be allowed to do that,” he told CNN in June 2019.
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In April 201, Castro released his People First Immigration plan, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for so-called Dreamers – undocumented immigrants who arrived in the US as minors – as well as other undocumented immigrants who “live, work and raise families in communities throughout the United States” and immigrants who are in the country under temporary protected status. The plan also aims to expand the number of asylum seekers admitted to the United States, strengthen the family migration system and decriminalize crossing illegally into the United States. His plan would reorganize Immigration and Customs Enforcement by “splitting the agency in half and re-assigning enforcement functions” within it. He has not called for abolishing the agency but does want an investigation into its role, along with those of Customs and Border Protection and the Justice Department, in the Trump administration’s policies that led to family separations at the border. Castro succinctly laid out his stance on immigration during the first Democratic debate, saying he would do away with the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including the ones that limit the number of asylum seekers at ports of entry and force them to wait in Mexico for the adjudication of their cases. More on Castro’s immigration policy


Joe Biden stands down at a critical juncture for police reform
Updated 12:52 AM ET, Fri Apr 16, 2021
Nearly a year after the police killing of George Floyd, pressure is mounting on President Joe Biden and members of Congress to show they are committed to holding police officers accountable for misconduct, excessive force and negligence after yet another agonizing week that has demonstrated how Americans of color are continuing to lose their lives during routine encounters with law enforcement. At this pivotal moment when the nation is once again focused on the need to end these all-too-common occurrences, Biden seems uniquely positioned to take a leading role in brokering a compromise with Congress after his lifetime of work on crime and justice legislation. But instead, Biden exhibited caution this week when addressing the death of another Black man and backed away from his campaign promise to create a police reform commission, convinced by advocates -- according to White House officials -- that a commission would be counterproductive to the passage of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. Biden's decision to stand down was a puzzling development given that there is no indication whatsoever that the Democratic legislation -- which would create a national registry of police misconduct, ban chokeholds and no-knock warrants, and overhaul qualified immunity protections for police officers -- has any chance in the 50-50 Senate after it passed the House in March without GOP support. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Karen Bass, a California Democrat, told CNN this week that she is engaged in informal talks with lawmakers from both parties, including Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, as well as White House officials, trying to find a path forward. But nearly a year's worth of talks on Capitol Hill have yielded little in the way of results. In the meantime, Black and Brown men are still dying senseless deaths at the hands of police. The deep fissures in the Democratic party over what to do on the issue of policing have put Democrats in a difficult spot. During the 2020 elections, Republican hammered their Democratic opponents over radical calls to "defund the police" -- attempting to portray all Democrats as sympathetic to a view that is held by a small minority. The attack, even on Democrats who have repeatedly spoken out against "defund the police" -- is already resurfacing as a potent theme for the 2022 midterms as Republicans look to take control of Congress. It's a major reason why congressional leaders like House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, the No. 3 Democrat in the chamber, were quick to refute Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib's argument that there should be "no more policing," because, in her view, it cannot be reformed. "We've got to have police," Clyburn said in an interview this week with CNN's Don Lemon. Within a nation on edge, the latest incidents of police violence have drawn public outrage because they have unfolded in the midst of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the White former Minneapolis police officer who is being tried for Floyd's murder. Protests erupted this week after the death of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man who was shot by veteran Minnesota police officer Kimberly Potter in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center after he was initially pulled over for an expired tag and police learned that he had an outstanding warrant for a gross misdemeanor weapons charge. Potter fired her Glock 9mm handgun after shouting "Taser, Taser, Taser" when Wright attempted to get back into the driver's seat of the car while being detained by police, according to a summary of the criminal complaint. Brooklyn Center's former police chief suggested that the shooting was accidental, and Potter made her first court appearance Thursday after being charged with second degree manslaughter. "There's never gonna be justice for us," Wright's mother, Katie Wright, told reporters on Thursday. "Justice would bring our son home, knocking on the door with a big smile, coming in the house, sitting down eating dinner with us, going out to lunch, playing with his one-year-old -- almost two-year-old-son, giving him a kiss before he walks out the door." "We're still going to bury our son," she said. "So when people say justice, I just shake my head." While the nation was receiving an education on police use of force during the Chauvin trial, footage also emerged earlier this month of the shocking treatment of a Black and Latino US Army officer who was pepper-sprayed, knocked to the ground and threatened by Windsor, Virginia, police officers last December during a stop related to what police believed was a missing license plate (which was actually taped to his back window). With guns drawn, one of the officers, who has since been fired, told 2nd Lt. Caron Nazario he was "fixin' to ride the lightning," which Nazario's lawsuit seeking compensatory damages describes as a "colloquial expression for an execution," particularly in reference to the electric chair. And in another difficult case, the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability released body-worn camera footage Thursday that shows a police officer shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo last month. Police say the boy was shot after the officer saw a gun in his right hand during a pursuit down a dark alley as police responded to a call of shots fired. An attorney for Toledo's family, Adeena Weiss-Ortiz, disputed the police account, stating the boy did not have a gun in his hand at the time he was shot. Weiss-Ortiz acknowledged that he could have had a gun in his hand during the encounter, but said he let go of whatever was in his hand when he turned to face the officer. "The officer screamed at him, 'Show me your hands,' Adam complied, turned around, his hands were empty when he was shot in the chest at the hands of the officer," Weiss-Ortiz told reporters Thursday. "If you're shooting an unarmed child with his hands in the air, it is an assassination." Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she did not see any evidence in body camera video that Toledo tried to shoot at officers before he was killed and she called on the Chicago police superintendent to change foot pursuit policies to better protect officers, suspects and bystanders. "As a mom, this is not something you want children to see," Lightfoot said during a news conference Thursday where she said her city has been "traumatized by a long history of police violence and misconduct." "We have to do better," Lightfoot said. "We can't afford to lose more lives." Democrats struggle with messaging on police reform Biden's cautious posture on policing issues since he has become President reflects the arms-length distance that he has maintained from the progressive left on a number of politically-fraught issues, including calls from some Democrats to expand the size of the Supreme Court, the suggestion that he should be doing more on gun control following a recent spate of mass shootings, and fulfilling his own promise to raise the cap set on refugee admissions. Before meeting with members of Congress about the American Jobs Plan in the Oval Office earlier this week, Biden seemed to be aiming for a middle ground, calling Wright's shooting a "really tragic thing," but adding that everyone should "wait and see what the investigation shows -- the entire investigation." Clearly looking to deter the violence that marred some of the Floyd protests last year, he centered his remarks around a call for "peace and calm." "I want to make it clear again: There is absolutely no justification -- none -- for looting, no justification for violence. Peaceful protest, understandable," Biden said Monday. "We do know that the anger, pain, and trauma that exists in the Black community in that environment is real -- it's serious, and it's consequential. But it will not justify violence and/or looting." Later this week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki refused to say whether Biden believed Potter should face charges in Wright's death. Biden's reticence reflects not only the deadlock in the deeply divided Congress, but also the fact that Democrats are still struggling to refine their message on police reform -- knowing the issue will be a vulnerability at the ballot box in 2022 and 2024. Last year, former President Donald Trump and Republicans tried to portray Democrats as weak on crime by inaccurately suggesting that Biden -- and the party as a whole -- agreed with the calls by some of the most liberal Democratic activists to "defund the police." Though Biden rejected those calls, a Trump campaign ad misrepresented his position with a fictional portrayal of an older woman reaching an automated message while calling 911 as her home was being broken into. In an interview with CBS News after the November 2020 election, when Democrats fell short of expectations in congressional contests, Clyburn bluntly said the "defund the police" slogan was "killing our party and we've got to stop it." Democrats' sensitivity to those attacks was magnified this week by the swift response to Tlaib, a liberal Democrat, when she tweeted Monday that Wright's death was not accident and "policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist." "Daunte Wright was met with aggression & violence," Tlaib tweeted. "I am done with those who condone government funded murder. No more policing, incarceration, and militarization. It can't be reformed." Clyburn, a Democrat from South Carolina who helped Biden clinch the Democratic nomination last year, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who ran as a progressive to Biden's left when he sought the White House in 2020, quickly brushed aside her argument. "This is not about policing. This is not about training. This is about recruiting. Who are we recruiting to be police officers? That to me is where the focus has got to go. We've got to have police officers," Clyburn told Lemon on "CNN Tonight." Sanders told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that he also did not agree with Tlaib's calls to end policing: "What we need to do is to understand that there needs to be major, major police reform all across this country," the Vermont independent said this week on "The Situation Room." "We are tired of seeing the same thing, week after week and year after year, we do not want to see innocent African Americans, shot in cold blood. So, I think that is an area that needs significant amount of work." As the White House looked to Congress to take the lead on police reform legislation, Psaki was vague this week about what executive actions Biden might be willing to take on the issue. She suggested the White House is continuing to pin its hopes on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act: "I know that does not solve all the issues. We're not suggesting that. I would say this is an issue that will be a cause of President Biden's time in office, and we are less than 100 days in. There is more to come." But as incomprehensible police shootings multiply