When Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, takes the podium to deliver the keynote address for the Democratic National Convention, it will be the most high-profile speech of his career, one that has already labeled him as a rising star in the Democratic Party.
Castro, 37, is the first Latino official to serve as a keynote speaker at a Democratic convention. He will share the stage with first lady Michelle Obama Tuesday night.
He will be in the same position as Barack Obama in 2004, when, as state senator from Illinois at the time, gave the keynote address in Boston. It instantly led Obama to gain national recognition.
“I remember watching his speech in 2004 and being inspired,” Castro 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.”
It was his mother, in fact, that inspired Castro to become involved in politics. 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.
Castro graduated from Stanford University, where he majored in political science and communications. He graduated from Harvard Law School. He once told the New York Times that “I’m a strong supporter of affirmative action because I’ve seen it work in my own life.”
He was elected to the San Antonio City Council and served from 2001 to 2005. He focused on issues of economic development, education and environmental protection and ran for mayor in 2005, but was narrowly defeated in the runoff.
Castro ran again for mayor in 2009 and won. He was re-elected in 2011.
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(Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)