As originally reported by the New York Times, President Obama is expected to nominate current San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the new secretary of housing and urban development. Castro would take the place of current director Shaun Donovan, who is to become director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Castro originally garnered national attention as the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 2012. Politically, the Democrats are betting heavily on appealing to the country’s growing Hispanic community. Castro has been mentioned often as a potential vice-presidential candidate in 2016.
This is the second overture the White House has made to the San Antonio mayor. After the 2012 election, the president asked Castro to be his transportation secretary. Castro opted to stay in San Antonio, citing his desire to finish his tenure as the city’s mayor.
When asked last month if the thought he could be wasting an opportunity, Castro said, “I’m going to be 40 this year. I feel like I have a decent amount of time either way. Whatever happens in the next two years to eight years, I’ll have time.”
The Times cited people familiar with the matter who advised Castro to up his profile in hopes of garnering national attention in the next presidential election.
“Some of Mr. Castro’s allies also believe that with income inequality becoming a focal point for Democrats, the HUD job offers the mayor an opportunity to burnish his credentials on issues of poverty and to raise his appeal among those on the party’s left. The post will also let him develop relationships with and win favors from city leaders and activists in a way he cannot on the Democratic lecture circuit,” the Times said.
Gearing up for the presidential election in 2016, its largely believed that the ever-increasing demographic of Hispanic voters will push both political parties towards Hispanic running mates.
“A couple years ago, I said Republicans should enjoy it because it’s not going to get any better for them,” Castro said, “and it’s only getting better for Democrats moving forward.”