Tribpedia: Julián Castro

Julián Castro, 37, currently serving in his second term as mayor of San Antonio, is the older brother (by a few minutes) of his identical twin, state Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio. Born Sept. 16, 1974, the twins’ mother is Hispanic activist Rosie Castro, an early leader of La Raza Unida, an organization that fielded statewide and local candidates in Texas in the 1970s. Julián Castro is married to Erica Lira Castro, an elementary school teacher, and they have a daughter.

Both Castro brothers attended Thomas Jefferson High School in San Antonio, and then graduated from Stanford University in 1996. Both then earned law degrees from Harvard University. Julián Castro was the first to enter politics, winning a San Antonio City Council seat in 2001. In 2005, he ran for mayor, gaining the most votes in the six-candidate field but not enough to avoid a runoff, which he lost to Phil Hardberger. A popular mayor, Hardberger served two terms before stepping down because of term limits.

In 2008, the city doubled term limits; the mayor and other officials can now serve a maximum of four terms.

Professionally, the Castro brothers continued their parallel paths, working at the San Antonio branch of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, an international law firm. In 2005, the brothers started their own firm.

Julián Castro ran again for mayor in 2009, avoiding a runoff in a crowded field with 56 percent of the vote. In 2011, Castro won re-election with 81 percent of the vote.

Like most cities across the country, San Antonio operates under a city manager form of government, which gives more administrative control to an appointed official, making the office of mayor less powerful. As mayor, Julián Castro has been an aggressive booster of his city, the seventh-largest in the country. Education and fitness — including getting salad bars into public schools -- have been recurring themes of his tenure. Recently, he risked some political capital by proposing a tax hike to fund a program designed to bring tens of thousands more children into preschools.

The mayor and his brother, both Democrats, are seen as rising stars on the national stage. Joaquin Castro is on the 2012 general election ballot, running for U.S. House of Representatives, a seat he is expected to easily win. Julian Castro’s future is a little more difficult to predict — many speculate on a future statewide office, but no Democrat has been able to achieve that in Texas since 1994. But with clear support from both President Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee — he sat next to first lady Michelle Obama at the president’s 2012 State of the Union address, and is the keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — Julian Castro is clearly regarded as a politician with a bright future in politics.


Wendy Davis speaks with San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro before he endorses her as candidate for governor at Rackspace Hosting in San Antonio, Oct. 7, 2013.