Childhood & Early Life
Julián Castro was born on September 16, 1974, in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., to Mexican–American civil-rights activist Maria "Rosie" Castro, who had established the Chicano political party 'La Raza Unida,' and Jessie Guzman, a retired mathematics teacher and political activist. His identical twin brother, Joaquin Castro, was born a minute before him. Joaquin is the current United States representative.
Castro's parents had never married. They separated when Castro was 8. Following this, his mother and grandmother, Victoria Castro, raised the two brothers.
While studying at the 'Thomas Jefferson High School' in San Antonio, he played football, basketball, and tennis. He skipped his sophomore year and directly graduated in 1992.
He was offered to play for 'Trinity University,' but he attended 'Stanford University' and graduated with a major in political science and communications in 1996. At the university, the Castro brothers were heavily involved in politics, winning student senate seats with the highest number of votes.
While at 'Stanford,' Castro interned at the ‘White House’ during Bill Clinton’s presidentship.
The Castro brothers attended the 'Harvard Law School' in 1997 and received their respective Juris Doctor degrees in 2000.
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Castro and his brother worked for the international law firm 'Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld' (the largest lobbying firm in the U.S. by revenue) from 2000 to 2002 and then established their own firm in 2005.
Motivated by his mother, Julian Castro decided to step into politics, beginning as a ‘San Antonio City Council’ member in 2001, at the age of 26. With that, he became the youngest council member of San Antonio.
In 2005, he narrowly lost his bid for the San Antonio mayor's race to former judge Phil Hardberger. He ran again in 2009 and won, becoming the fifth Latino mayor of San Antonio. He was easily re-elected in 2011 and 2013.
In 2010, Castro launched 'SA2020,' an innovative way to list the community goals created by the people of San Antonio, bringing them together to meet their collective vision for the city in 2020.
He also established 'Cafe College' in 2010. It provides education and career-related counseling to the city's students. As a mayor, Castro supported the 'North American Free Trade Agreement' but asked for a renegotiation of the agreement to strengthen the rights of workers and to make it more environment-friendly.
In 2012, Castro became the first Latino to give a keynote speech at a 'Democratic National Convention.' That year, he called for a poll to expand pre-kindergarten education. He also approached San Antonio-based businessmen Charles Butt and Joe Robles, requesting them for funding the pre-kindergarten education program.
Julian Castro was offered the post of the United States secretary of transportation, but he declined, as he wanted to run for the position of the governor of Texas after 2017. He served as a mayor until 2014, and then became the U.S. secretary of 'Housing and Urban Development' (HUD) in the administration of President Barack Obama. He assumed office on July 28, 2014, and continued to serve till 2017.
The 'Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute' hosted an event named 'Celebrating Latino Cabinet Members' on Castro's first day in office. Castro was honored at the event.
Under Castro's secretaryship, 'the Fair Housing Rule' under the 'Fair Housing Act' was made more accessible to the minorities. It also cut down mortgage insurance premiums, making purchasing homes affordable. His schemes gave families access to neighborhoods, provided them more options related to housing vouchers, and empowered local leaders to upgrade their communities.
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The ‘HUD’ department organized the 'National Disaster Resilience Competition' to help the communities rebuild and repair the damages done by natural disasters. In July 2015, Obama supported one of Castro's projects, called 'ConnectHomeUSA,' to provide better broadband connectivity to communities and to children living in public and ‘HUD’-assisted housings. The national non-profit 'EveryoneOne' was a partner in the mission.
In 2018, the 'Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs' of the 'University of Texas' named Castro the “Dean's Distinguished Fellow” and “Fellow of the Dávila Chair in International Trade Policy.” In October that year, he published his memoir, 'An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream.'
On December 12, Julian Castro announced the launch of a presidential exploratory committee.
On January 12, 2019, he declared himself a candidate for the 2020 presidential run. The policies ''Medicare for All'' and "People First" were his main focus during the campaign. He also promised easy and fast procedures to grant citizenship to the immigrants who had no documents with them.
Another highlight of his campaign was the reconstitution of the federal law-enforcement agency the 'Immigration and Customs Enforcement' and border-patrol agencies, to reduce criminal penalties for crossing borders illegally. He opposed Trump's theory of border-wall expansion.
Julian Castro proposed several schemes in the education sector, such as a comprehensive and universal preschool program. He advocated greater accessibility to post-high-school education by excusing tuition fees at public universities, community colleges, and various technical and vocational programs. He also aimed at updating high schools and establishing more trade schools.
Despite such agendas and his great debate performance with fellow ‘Democratic’ candidates, Castro's campaign never gained momentum. He also fell short of money to finance his campaign, so he could not qualify for the final two ‘Democratic’ debates. He withdrew his candidature on January 2, 2020, and endorsed Senator Elizabeth Warren's presidential campaign.
As a running mate of Warren's campaign, he could not win Texas for her.