Julián Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, has been selected to deliver the keynote address for the Democratic National Convention, the first Latino official to have a prime-time role in the party’s convention history.
With that selection, Castro is now likely to be viewed as one of the rising stars of the Democratic Party as he takes on the role played by then-Senator Barack Obama four years ago.
The positioning of Castro in a role of prominence is undoubtedly designed in part to score political points with Latino voters whose support is critical to President Obama’s reelection prospects.
The Democrats are eager to highlight their difference with the Republicans on the issue of illegal immigration. Moreover, they believe the more conservative, hardline approach of the Republicans will make it more difficult for their candidate, Mitt Romney, to gain Latino support in the November election.
He will address the convention on its opening night, as will First Lady Michelle Obama.
Castro made the announcement himself in a video.
“We’ve come so far over the past three and a half years under Obama’s leadership,” the mayor states in the video. “And I know he’s not done yet. We got a lot more work to do.”
Castro, who is 37, is one of the youngest mayors of a major city in the country. His mother, Rosie Castro, was a leader in the Raza Unida Party, a political organization centered on Chicano nationalism in the 1970s. Castro grew up steeped in the politics of his native San Antonio, along with his twin brother, Joaquin, who is a member of the Texas legislature.
In the three-minute video, Mr. Castro touched on some of his personal and political background in what is likely to be a foretaste of his convention speech in Charlotte. He spoke of Obama’s keynote speech in Boston in 2004.
“I remember watching his speech in 2004 and being inspired,” the San Antonio mayor said. “When Obama talked about the audacity of hope, I thought back to my mother saying if you didn’t like the way things were, you could dare to change them. I thought, my mother would like this guy.”
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(Photo: AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)