Julian Castro, the telegenic former mayor of San Antonio, Texas and Obama-era cabinet member, launched his bid to become the nation's first Hispanic president Saturday, emphasizing a message of hope and diversity at a time when Americans are locked in angry debate over immigration and border security.
"When my grandmother got here nearly 100 years ago, I'm sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later..."
"I'm running for president because it's time for new leadership, it's time for new energy, it's time for new commitment to make sure the opportunities that I had are available to every American", he said.
Castro, 44, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant who would be the first Hispanic elected president, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama and has always been viewed as a rising star in the party.
Castro is the third candidate with a Latino background to seek the presidency in recent years after two Republicans - Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida - unsuccessfully faced Trump in that party's 2016 primary campaign.
More than a dozen potential Democratic candidates are exploring a possible run for president in 2020. Castro attended public schools in San Antonio before going to Stanford University and then Harvard.
Castro is the identical twin brother of Joaquín Castro, who now represents Texas's 20th congressional district.
Democrats are piling on for the opportunity to take on President Donald Trump, whose job approval rating halfway through his four-year term hovers around 42 percent, according to a Real Clear Politics survey of recent polls. John Delaney, a former congressman from Maryland, launched his presidential bid in 2017, and Sen.
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Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii announced Friday that she would also run for president. "That said, his star is definitely not rising anymore, and the sun may be setting on the presidential ambitions of Julian Castro".
"What I believe is that he's created a tragedy at the border", Castro said on CBS's "Face the Nation" on Sunday. If successful, he would be the first Hispanic and one of the youngest Americans to win the White House. The Spanish-style plaza in the Castro twins' boyhood neighborhood was packed with supporters who streamed through the gates between a mariachi band.
With the election 22 months away, there are still plenty of candidates expected to announce their run, with two of the biggest names, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden, expected to throw their hats into the ring. Senator Elizabeth Warren of MA launched an exploratory committee on December 31.
"I'll tell you and I'll tell the world what I'm going to do", he said this week on MSNBC.
Castro was raised by a local Latina activist.
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 13: U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro testifies during a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee July 13, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. During Castro's trip this past week to Nevada, one state Latino business leader told Castro that he should again be a top contender for vice president if his campaign falls short.
Laying out other key components of his campaign platform, Castro noted his support for Medicare for All and his rejection of corporate political action committee (PAC) money as well as his dedication to taking action to address the global climate crisis.