Photo: Julian Castro
President Barack Obama on Friday nominated San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, one of the Democratic party’s rising stars, to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The president praised Castro, 39, for “revitalizing one of our most wonderful cities,” while stressing that the Mexican-American mayor has “never forgotten where he comes from.”
“Julian ha vivido el Sueño Americano,” Obama said in Spanish.
“And it’s precisely because he’s lived out the American Dream that he’ll work his tail off to make sure more people can travel that same path and earn their own dreams as well,” the president said.
Obama was referring to the keynote address the mayor gave during the 2012 Democratic Convention, which made many recall the one that the president himself gave eight years ago, earning Castro the nickname of the “Hispanic Obama.”
“The first time most Americans heard this man speak is when he gave a speech at the Democratic National Convention almost two years ago. And they saw this young guy, a pretty good speaker, not bad-looking - talk about how America is the only place where his story could even be possible. And I watched, and I thought, ‘That’s not bad,’” the president said.
He also referred to Castro’s background.
“Julian’s grandmother came to this country from Mexico. She worked as a maid, worked as a cook, worked as a babysitter - whatever she had to do to keep a roof over her family’s head. And that’s because for her, and generations of Americans like her, a home is more than just a house,” Obama said.
Castro, whose twin brother Joaquin is a Democratic congressman from Texas, is to take over at HUD from Shaun Donovan, who was nominated Friday as head of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
The San Antonio mayor, upon being confirmed by the Senate, will become the youngest member of Obama’s Cabinet.