Biography: Julian Castro

Julián_Castro's_Official_HUD_PortraitThe new face of the Democratic Party was front and center on Tuesday evening September 4, 2012, as San Antonio, Texas mayor delivered the Keynote Speech at the Democratic National Convention. Many people are asking, who exactly is Julian Castro?

Julian is by his own admission a second generation American who is grateful for the opportunities that being born in the United States have afforded him. You might think by hearing his last name that he is of Cuban descent, but you would be wrong. His grandmother Victoria Castro, came to Texas from Mexico in 1920 as a 6-year-old orphan. He is quite controversial within the Latino community because though his heritage is certainly Latino, he is not fluent in Spanish which many consider the determining factor to be called Latino. In Texas, Tejanos is a more appropriate term for Texans of Mexican descent.

Born on September 16, 1974, to Jesse Guzman and Rosie Castro, he has an identical twin brother, Joaquin. Though his parents never married and separated when the boys were 8 years old, he has remained close to both parents. Julian and his brother both attended Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio and both graduated in only three years. The brothers went on to get their undergraduate degrees from Stanford University where both were active on the student senate. Julian majored in political science and communication. In 2000 he graduated from Harvard University with a law degree.

Julian Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001, only one year out of Harvard Law School, when he was only 26 years. At that time, he was the youngest person ever to accomplish that. He was defeated in 2005 the first time he ran for mayor of San Antonio but was elected in 2009 and reelected in 2011 with over 80 percent of the popular vote.

According to his official bio, at 37 years old, he was the youngest mayor of a Top 50 American City. It’s no wonder he is considered to be one of the new, young faces of the Democratic Party. Politics are big in this family. Julian’s mother Rosie ran for City Council in San Antonio before her sons were born and Julian brother Joaquin is a Texas state representative and is hoping to get elected to Congress this year.

Some sources say that Julian dated his wife Erica for 8 years before they were married in 2007. Erica Lira Castro is an elementary school teacher and the couple has a daughter Carina who was born in 2009. They are communicants at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church in Julian old San Antonio neighborhood.

What the future will bring for this young politician remains to be seen but for right now, he had a shining moment at the Democratic National Convention in 2012 and has placed his name and face firmly in the mind of Democrats across the United States. He turned down an overture from the President in 2012 to take on the role of Secretary of Transportation.

Since this article was originally written, Julian Castro has gone on to even bigger and better things. He was nominated as the Secretary of the House and Urban Development agency in July 2014. According to President Barack Obama “Julián is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods.” Today at 39 years old, Julian is in a position to move ahead in a Democratic administration that might include Hilary Clinton.

Photo credit: “Julián Castro’s Official HUD Portrait” by United States Department of Housing and Urban Development – United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons –

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