US Democrats Castro and Gabbard make bids for presidency

Pauline Gross
January 13, 2019

Texas Democrat Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and top United States housing official, formally launched his White House bid yesterday, entering as a dark horse candidate in a likely crowded field vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election. 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". Since announcing his presidential exploratory committee, however, he has planted himself firmly within the rising progressive side of the Democratic Party.

Some Democrats believe an establishment figure who can appeal to centrist voters is the way to win back the White House. "Yes, there are serious issues that need to be addressed in our broken immigration system, but seeking asylum is a legal right, and the cruel policies of this administration are doing real harm and damage".

Castro would be the first identical twin elected president.

Castro, in an interview with CNN ahead of his official presidential announcement, acknowledged that he will enter the race looking up at the cadre of other Democrats considering running for the party's nomination.

Perhaps more disturbing for Castro are the Lone Star rumblings that former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke, now the most popular Democrat in Texas, is seriously considering a campaign for president.

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

"We say no to building a wall and say yes to building community", he added, to roars from the crowd. There are about 700,000 young "Dreamers" who were brought into the US illegally as children; advocates want to provide them with protection deportation and a chance to apply for citizenship.

"Today we're falling backwards instead of moving forward".

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In his convention speech Castro highlighted "an unlikely journey" that he has lived, including growing up with twin brother Joaquin, who is a United States congressman. The Spanish-style plaza in the Castro twins' boyhood neighborhood was packed with supporters who streamed through the gates between a mariachi band.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California this past week published a memoir, a staple of presidential candidates.

Castro's national profile rose sharply in 2012 when he became the first Latino to deliver a keynote speech at the Democratic national nominating convention. Before his term as mayor, Castro, at age 26, was the youngest person elected to the San Antonio city council.

Castro was raised by a local Latina activist.

Two years later, Mr Obama picked him to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Castro, who was considered on the short list to be Hillary Clinton's running mate in the 2016 election, has been out of the political spotlight for the past two years, at a time when politics has become all-consuming across America.

Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said in an emailed statement that Castro "has made history by becoming one of the biggest lightweights to ever run for president".

Castro launched an exploratory committee for a potential campaign on December 12, citing a platform built on opportunity, education, housing, health care, immigration and the environment.

Other reports by GizPress

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