Fri May 23, 2014
President Obama Nominates Julian Castro For HUD Secretary
Julian Castro's nomination by President Obama to head the department of Housing and Urban Development is a path Castro carved locally.
In his five years as mayor, Castro pushed initiatives that would land San Antonio both the Promise and Choice Neighborhood grants, an accolade that San Antonio alone has gained.
The goal of the Choice and Promise grants is to support local strategies aimed at struggling neighborhoods, to improve housing and schools, specifically on the city's east side.
If confirmed by the Senate, now Castro will lead the department that delivers that support to cities across the country that need that help.
With President Obama standing by his side at the nomination ceremony, Mayor Castro recalled his youth. He and his twin brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, grew up on the west side, but had the same struggles as those across town.
"My brother, Joaquin and I, grew up on the west side of San Antonio, taking public transportation and living in rental homes as we grew up and it was there that both of us got a sense of what is possible in America," he said Friday at the White House. "And an understanding that just because you are of a modest means does not mean that your aspiration or opportunity ought to be limited."
He told the president and the crowd of people gathered that cities are growing, and housing is at the top of the agenda. Castro believes better housing creates a ripple effect to better neighborhoods, schools and communities.
District 2 City Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, who represents the east side, told TPR late Friday that she believes Castro being at the federal level will help San Antonio in its housing efforts.
"I look forward to being part of a department that will help ensure that millions of Americans all across the country have the chance to get good, safe, affordable housing, and to reach their American dreams," he said.
Mayor Castro's chief of staff, Jaime Castillo, said the White House asked Castro not to speak about the nomination until he's finished with the confirmation process. He offered local business leader statements, including Red McCombs.
McCombs wrote a personal message to Castro, saying, "Being appointed to the president's cabinet is a great step for you and for San Antonio. I want to thank you for the very important successes that you have had during your time as mayor."
Following Castro's speech, President Obama only said the mayor was remiss in one area, not with housing goals, but in supporting the San Antonio Spurs in their championship goal. "I'm assuming that he's pulling for the Spurs," said Obama. Castro then uttered the fan-famous chant from off the podium, spurring the president to say it as well.
"Go Spurs Go," said Castro. "Go Spurs Go," repeated Obama.