Julian Castro is launching his own political action committee called Opportunity First. The former San Antonio mayor and secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama says the PAC's focus will be mainly to get more young people and progressives into public office.
"We’re at this moment in the country where we can’t bottle up our young talent, whether it's city hall, or at the statehouse, or at Capitol Hill,” said Castro, who is hoping to influence the upcoming midterm elections.
Castro is targeting millennials who, according to Pew Research data from 2016, have surpassed the Baby Boomer demographic by about 500,000.
“What I think that millennials see in 2018 is that it’s their future that this president and this Republican congress is mortgaging and damaging by passing a tax package that is going to make it harder for middle class families to succeed [and] make it harder for people to enter the middle class,” he said.
Castro stepped down as San Antonio mayor in 2014 to join the Obama administration as HUD secretary. The 43-year-old is seen as a rising force in the Democratic Party. He gave the keynote speech during the 2012 Democratic National Convention and is considered a contender for president in 2020.
Castro wants to use his PAC to encourage the next generation of Democrats.
“We want young progressive leaders that also believe in expanding opportunity for everybody and not taking it away or picking and choosing who gets opportunity or who doesn’t based on your last name, or how much money you have or don’t have,” he said.
He said his drive to help young politicians comes from the time in his life when he was a political hopeful.
“That’s why I went into public service when I was 26 years old, because I felt very blessed in my life, with meaningful opportunity, and I wanted to make sure that other people had that opportunity,” said Castro, who joined the San Antonio City Council in 2001 as a council member for District 7.
Castro declined to say how much Opportunity First has raised so far.
Joey Palacios can be reached at Joey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules.