News Column

NALEO Wants Castro for HUD Secretary

May 20, 2014


San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (file image)
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro (file image)

The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) on Monday added its weight to the question of appointing San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

The upshot: They're for it.

If Mr. Castro is appointed and confirmed, he would be the third Hispanic member of the present Cabinet.

Mr. Castro "would bring bold leadership and a wealth of economic expansion and community development experience to this critical position," the organization said in a news release.

NALEO points to Mr. Castro's three terms as mayor, during which he implemented initiatives to attract jobs with good pay and spurred urban revitalization in San Antonio through the city's "Decade of Downtown" initiative.

Within two years of the initiative's launch, 2,400 housing units had been scheduled for completion in the city center by the end of this year, representing $349.8 million in investment, according to the release.

The Texas Democrat, 39, first got national attention with his keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. He and his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, are seen as potentially providing some traction with Hispanic voters for Democrats.

So far in the midterm races and the run-up for the 2016 election, Republicans have been getting the lion's share of attention with Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas, and New Mexico Gov. Susanna Martinez.

Calling Mr. Castro a "rising star within the nation's deep bench of talented Latino elected officials on both sides of the aisle," NALEO points out that under his leadership San Antonio was named one of seven "enterprising cities" by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its approach to business concerns, and was one of five cities to earn a federal Promise Zone grant to spark community revitalization.

Mr. Castro in 2012 turned down an offer to head the Department of Transportation, and passed on a chance this year to run for governor, saying he wanted to finish his term as mayor.

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