Julián Castro – the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development – believes the road to the White House goes through Latino-rich Texas, Arizona and Florida.
The former mayor of San Antonio is trying to gain traction in a field of 21 Democratic presidential hopefuls led by former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.
“As I see it, people want at least three things: They want new blood in 2020, they want somebody who is experienced enough to do the job, and, they want someone who can beat Donald Trump,” said Castro during a May 3 visit to Fresno.
“I represent a new generation of leadership,” said Castro, who pointed to his cabinet position with the Obama administration and years as mayor of the country’s seventh-largest city.
The 44-year-old San Antonio native said he can deliver more than just the electoral votes in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania (states that Trump won to secure the electoral college), but also carry other states.
“I’m the only candidate that can also offer another path to victory for Democrats, which is to win the 11 electoral votes in Arizona, the 29 electoral votes in Florida, and, the 38 electoral votes in my home state of Texas,” said Castro, prior to addressing a fundraiser for the Fresno County Democratic Party.
Castro, who attended Stanford along with his twin brother, Joaquín (now a Congressmember), said he understands California issues.
“Too oftentimes, people overlook the Central Valley. They go to Los Ángeles or to San Francisco or to San Diego,” he said. “I wanted to be the first presidential candidate to come out here because I want people to know that if I’m elected president that everybody’s going to count.”
Castro said “so much of the success of California depends on the Central Valley, whether it’s agriculture or other issues.”
On the day of his Fresno appearance, Castro qualified for the Democratic presidential debates by garnering contributions from at least 65,000 donors. Earlier in the week, he made news when he called for Attorney General William Barr to step down or face impeachment.
“Attorney General Barr willfully misled the American people to cover up attempted crimes by Donald Trump. He should resign his position or face an impeachment inquiry immediately,” Castro tweeted on April 29.
Castro, in Fresno, outlined his vision for the country.
“My vision for our country is that we be the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest and the most prosperous nation in the world. If we are going to be prosperous in the 21st century it means everyone has to prosper,” he said.
“So we have to invest in a big way in housing that is affordable to the middle class the people who are working.”
He said Fresno has attracted people because of its affordability, “but that is starting to change because people are moving in. So, we need to make sure there is an affordable housing supply to help this community meet this challenge.”
Castro also said clean drinking water is vital to the area, as well as water for agriculture.
On other issues:
Education: “Every child can have a great education in this country. I’m very blessed to have gone to public education in San Antonio, and I got to go to college and law school after that and reach my dreams. I want that for everybody, whatever their dreams are.”
Immigration: “We can have a secure border, at the same time we can choose compassion instead of cruelty.”
Gentrification: “When I was secretary of Housing, I visited 100 different communities in 39 states. I wouldn’t give a single community an A when it comes to dealing with displacement and gentrification. What it means though is that policymakers have to approach this very early on by trying to ensure that people who want to stay in the neighborhood can afford to stay in that neighborhood.”
Non-partisanship: “I came up through local politics. So I had to learn to talk to people who didn’t agree with me. So I have a positive, strong, compelling agenda for our country’s future that I believe appeals to a lot of people who consider themselves moderates or even conservative even though I’m progressive.”
Castro, the only Latino presidential candidate, released ‘An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up from My American Dream,’ an autobiography about being raised by a strong-willed single mother and his grandmother while striking a competitive spirit with his twin brother.