CHARLOTTE — A rising star in the Democratic Party, 37-year-old Julian Castro urged Americans to act familially and support one another in his keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, was introduced by his identical twin brother, Joaquin Castro, who is vying for a U.S. House seat this November. Joaquin noted that his brother has spent the past three years as mayor working “tirelessly” to honor the needs of the people of San Antonio.
San Antonio, ranked as the nation’s top performing local economy in 2011 by Milken Institute, has burgeoned under the leadership of Julian Castro. This is mainly due to his strong investment in pre-K programs and a recent bond initiative that created jobs through infrastructure projects like roads, parks and flood protection, he said.
“Texas may be the one place where people actually still have bootstraps,” Julian said. “And we expect folks to pull themselves up by them. But we also recognize there are some things we can’t do alone. We have to come together and invest in opportunity today for prosperity tomorrow.”
He warned listeners of the dangers of the Republican Romney-Ryan ticket that “just doesn’t get it,” arguing that they would abandon the idea of investing in a shared American prosperity and pummel the middle class.
“Of all the fictions we heard last week in Tampa, the one I find most troubling is this: If we all just go our own way, our nation will be stronger for it,” he noted.
Before speaking about his own family’s version of the American Dream, Castro emphasized the importance in investment in public education—widely praised in his home city—in order for all Americans to reach their full career potential. A graduate of Stanford University and Harvard Law School, he said he knows as well as anyone the importance of governmental investment in Pell Grants—something that Mitt Romney would decrease.
Castro did not shy away from discussing the discrimination and socieconomic barriers that he and his family had to overcome as Latinos.
“My mother fought hard for civil rights so that instead of a mop, I could hold this microphone,” he said.
Pundits say selecting Castro as the DNC keynote speaker was a strong political move by Democrats to help them garner support from Latinos, a critical voting bloc heading into the election.
Minutes later, in a digression from discussing equality and the American community, Castro choked up while addressing his own family—his wife Erica and their three-year-old daughter, Carina Victoria, named after Castro’s grandmother.
He said because love for one’s own family can only go so far, Americans must evoke similar compassion to care for each other as a wider family.
“As a dad, I’m going to do my part, and I know [my wife will] do hers,” he said. “But our responsibility as a nation is to come together and do our part, as one community, one United States of America, to ensure opportunity for all of our children.”