A former secretary of Housing and Urban Development just launched his campaign for next year's presidential election, joining a crowded field of Democrats who want to replace President Donald Trump. Former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro is running for president in 2020, he announced Saturday, becoming one of the youngest Democrats seeking the presidency.
“I am running for president because it’s time for new leadership, because it’s time for new energy," Castro said Saturday, per Vox. "And it’s time for a new commitment to make sure the opportunities that I had are available to every American."
According to Vox, Castro announced his candidacy in both English and Spanish. The New York Times reported that Castro plans to make his first campaign stop on Monday in Puerto Rico, to address the Latino Victory Fund’s annual summit and meet with people who are trying to recover from Hurricane Maria.
When Castro announced his campaign in San Antonio — where he was mayor from 2009 to 2014 — he pledged that one of his first policy proposals would be “pre-K for the USA," a pre-kindergarten initiative similar to one he launched as mayor. He also called for a climate change action plan and more universal Medicare access, ABC 7 reported, before going on to condemn what he described as an ongoing housing affordability crisis. Castro then slammed Trump for failing to “uphold the values of our great nation," per Vox.
Castro initially announced his intent to run in December, with the release of a biographical video and the formation of an exploratory committee. On Saturday, he made his intentions official, joining fellow Democrats Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney in the race for the presidency.
“When my grandmother got here almost a hundred 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 told a crowd in San Antonio.
In the video he released back in December, Castro thanked his grandmother Victoria for teaching "her family the value of hard work," and described his mother Rosie as "the strongest person I've ever known." Castro's twin brother Joaquín, meanwhile, currently serves as a Democratic Representative from Texas.
Being one of the youngest Democrats to run for president is nothing new for Castro. In 2001, Castro became the youngest person ever elected to the San Antonio City Council, Politico reported. Then, when he was 39 years old, he became the youngest person to join former President Barack Obama's Cabinet as the secretary for Housing and Urban Development. In announcing his bid for the presidency on Saturday, Castro indicated that he had a clear vision for the future of his party and the country.
"Today we’re falling backwards instead of moving forward," Castro said. "And the opportunities that made America, the America we love, those opportunities are reaching fewer and fewer people. Today, we're at risk of dropping the baton. And that’s why we are here today. Because we’re going to make sure that the promise of America is available to everyone."
Other Democrats who are considered potential candidates — though they have not yet launched presidential campaigns — include California Sen. Kamala Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.