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The Brief: May 19, 2014

The news over the weekend that San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro is being considered for the post of housing and urban development secretary has people in Texas and D.C. wondering how this rearranges the electoral chessboard for 2016 and beyond.

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro at The Texas Tribune Festival on Sept. 22, 2012.

The Big Conversation

The news over the weekend that San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro is being considered for the post of housing and urban development secretary has people in Texas and D.C. wondering how this rearranges the electoral chessboard for 2016 and beyond.

The New York Times wrote on Saturday the appointment could be seen as part of an ongoing effort "to raise his profile in the hope of securing a slot on the national ticket."

The San Antonio Express-News' Brian Chasnoff was the first to report on Saturday morning that Castro could soon be headed to Washington, D.C., although he did not have details at the time on which position he was offered. The Express-News flooded the zone with its Sunday paper, taking several different angles on the future of the city's mayor.

•    In taking over at HUD, Castro has the chance to make an impact. But there's one large caveat. "Of all federal bureaucracies, HUD is among the most challenged, dealing with multigenerational poverty, decaying neighborhoods and a budget dwarfed by unmet needs," write David McCumber and Nolan Hicks. "And Castro's hopes of what he can accomplish must be tempered by the reality that there is little expectation that Congress will turn on the funding spigot anytime soon."

•    Express-News columnist Gilbert Garcia compares this latest turn in Castro's political career to the path taken by George H.W. Bush. "Bush was a highly regarded Republican stuck in a stubbornly Democratic Texas. Castro is a highly regarded Democrat stuck in a stubbornly Republican Texas. ... (Bush) was loved by his fellow Texas Republicans and admired by President Richard Nixon, but he kept bumping his head against the glass ceiling of one-party politics in this state. Bush found his way out by garnering appointments."

Garcia delves into the reasons why grooming Castro for a possible appearance on the 2016 ticket with Hillary Clinton makes sense. But, Garcia concludes, "as ideal as Castro would be for Clinton, the jump from San Antonio mayor to VP nominee is too steep."

•   Other stories include who might be in line to succeed Castro as mayor as well as the cautionary tale of Henry Cisneros.

The Day Ahead

•    Early voting begins today and continues through Friday for the May 27 primary election runoffs.

•    The Senate Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security holds an interim hearing at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Extension to examine issues related to the storage of ammonium nitrate and the state's disaster preparedness. (agenda)

Today in the Trib

Nurse Practitioners Look to Ease Supervision Rules: "Nurse practitioners say state regulations, which link them to supervising physicians, limit their ability to treat patients in a state with a looming shortage of primary care physicians."

Law Helps State Workers Find Time for Fitness: "Since the passage of a 2007 law allowing state employees a 30-minute exercise break three times per week, several state agencies have begun offering popular lunchtime workout programs, like weight training and Zumba."

Analysis: For Legislators, This Election Year is Over: "The election year doesn't end until the first Tuesday in November, but in the Texas Legislature, most of the competition is over, and lawmakers can dig into issues otherwise too dangerous for political season."

New in TW Politics

Dewhurst Releases New Web Ad, "Grace": "Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst features a visit to Houston's Grace Community Church to bolster his anti-abortion bona fides." ($)


Fikac: Davis, slow to accept Valley debate, plans to speed things up, San Antonio Express-News

State Sen. Bob Deuell falls under attack from right in race, The Dallas Morning News

Red River ranchers fear losing land to feds, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Landry's billionaire Fertitta expands his gaming empire, Houston Chronicle

S.A.-based Dem stalwart sued over purported fraud, San Antonio Express-News

Bernie Tiede’s freedom was more than a feel-good sequel, Austin American-Statesman

Roads alone won’t drive Texas’ future, new TxDOT chief says, The Dallas Morning News

Editor’s Exit at The Times Puts Tensions on Display, The New York Times

Quote to Note

“What has happened is that Deuell has been in the Senate long enough that he is viewed with suspicion by some conservative voters. They believe that anybody who has been in office a long time is part of the problem, regardless of their voting record.”

— Political consultant Bill Miller on the current electoral challenge facing state Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville

Today in TribTalk

We can't afford to let up on education, by Rick Perry: "Texas’ graduation rate is higher than the national average, and if you drill down, it becomes even more impressive. But we can't afford to let up."

A plea to lawmakers: Address child poverty, by Denise Davis: "Decades after I sat in a Head Start classroom, I’m reminded how far we have to go in helping poor kids in Texas."

This ordeal has been a test of my faith, by Dan Patrick: "One reason I’ve talked about the issue on the radio over the years is to let people know there is no shame in asking for help or seeking treatment for depression. We must remove the stigma of seeking help for mental health."

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With Sen. Glenn Hegar, Candidate for State Comptroller, at the Austin Club, 5/29

•    The Texas Tribune Festival runs from Sept. 19-21 at the University of Texas at Austin. Tickets are on sale now.

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Health care Politics David Dewhurst Greg Abbott Julián Castro Wendy Davis