He apologized for the makeup still half-caked on his face. He had come from another interview, he explains to a small group of reporters invited to hear him discuss his vision for HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development that he has been leading for about eight months. Tapped for the job last summer by a lame duck president and by definition a short-termer, HUD Secretary Julian Castro wants to make the most of the time he’s got in a Cabinet post that he once said held “no upside politically.” Castro and his identical twin brother, Joaquín Castro, a member of Congress, are on the fast track—young, smart, energetic, Hispanic, and with a story that resonates not only with Hispanics, but all Americans.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro on Tuesday laid out two of his main priorities going forward: boosting homeownership and combating the nation’s “rental housing crisis.” In his first public policy speech since joining HUD in July, the former San Antonio mayor said that he criss-crossed the country during his first weeks in office to get a feel for what HUD does and what it needs to do. Here’s some of what he told the crowd Tuesday (his 40th birthday) at the Bipartisan Policy Center’s housing summit in Washington about his top goals:
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Mayor Julián Castro of San Antonio, a rising star in the Democratic Party, is expected to soon have a platform that might kick-start a national political career. President Obama made that possible on Friday by officially nominating Mr. Castro to be secretary of housing and urban development, replacing Shaun Donovan, who will become the president’s new budget chief. Both nominations require confirmation by the Senate.
Julian Castro is quietly forging a path that could put him in the White House in 2016.