Tribpedia: Joaquin Castro

Joaquin Castro was born in San Antonio, Texas on September 16, 1974. A second generation Mexican American, he was raised on the city’s Westside and is a proud product of the public school system. The Castro family’s history in the United States began nearly 100 years ago when his grandmother, Victoria Castro, came to Texas as a young orphan. In the spirit of the American Dream, she often worked two and three jobs at a time to be able to give her daughter (Joaquin’s mother, Rosie) and her grandchildren a better chance in life.

Joaquin has worked hard to seize the opportunities created by the sacrifices of his grandmother and prior generations. After finishing high school a year early, Joaquin left San Antonio to graduate with honors from Stanford University in 1996. He then went on to attend Harvard Law School where he received his Juris Doctorate degree in 2000. Upon his return to San Antonio at 28 years old, Joaquin joined a private law practice and was elected into the Texas Legislature. He served five terms as state representative for District 125. In 2012 Joaquin was elected to serve in the U.S House of Representatives as representative of Texas Congressional District 20, which covers a large portion of San Antonio and Bexar County. Joaquin’s identical twin brother, Julián Castro, was elected in 2013 to his third term as Mayor of San Antonio. On July 28, 2014, Julian Castro was sworn in as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

Joaquin’s respect for public service developed at a young age and was deeply influenced by his parents’ involvement in political movements and civic causes. His father, a retired teacher, and his mother, a renowned community activist, instilled in him a deep appreciation for the democratic process and the importance of serving one’s community.

Despite a difficult political environment during his time as state legislator, Joaquin transcended partisan gridlock to help restore millions of dollars in funding to critical health care and education programs. As Vice Chairman of the Higher Education Committee and Democratic Floor Leader in the Texas House, he was also at the forefront in proposing forward-thinking legislative reforms in the areas of mental health, teen pregnancy, and juvenile justice.

Now in his second term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Joaquin serves on the House Armed Services Committee, as well as the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He was the 2013 co-President for the House freshman Democrats and serves in House Democratic Leadership as Chief Deputy Whip.

Outside of the legislative chamber, Joaquin has demonstrated a strong commitment to his community. He created the Trailblazers College Tour, personally raising money to send underprivileged students on college visits, giving them exposure to some of the nation’s best institutions of higher education. He also created SA READS, San Antonio’s largest literacy campaign and book drive. Over 200,000 books have been distributed to more than 150 schools and shelters across the city. He has also taught as a visiting professor of law at St. Mary’s University and as an adjunct professor at Trinity University. Joaquin is active on several boards of education-related, non-profit organizations, including the National College Advising Corps, and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ (NALEO) Taskforce on Education. 

Having experienced America’s promise firsthand, Joaquin wants to help build out what he calls the Infrastructure of Opportunity so that future generations will have the same chance to pursue their American Dream. Joaquin believes that just as there is an infrastructure of transportation that helps us get to where we want to go on the road there is an Infrastructure of Opportunity that helps Americans get to where they want to go in life. It is that Infrastructure of Opportunity – great public schools and universities, a sound healthcare system, and good-paying jobs –  that enables Americans to pursue their American Dream. Our centuries-long commitment to building and preserving this infrastructure is what distinguishes America among the nations of the world.

As Congressman, Joaquin continues to be a tireless advocate for those who call San Antonio home. From supporting military families to investing in education, Joaquin remains committed to helping mold an Infrastructure of Opportunity for San Antonians and Americans around the country.

Information in this bio was provided by Castro's office.                                                                                                                  

Last updated: April 22, 2015.



 (L-R) U.S. Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, Mike Conaway, R-Midland and Will Hurd, R-Elotes all serve on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. 
Clockwise from top left: U.S. Reps. Beto O'Rourke, D-El Paso, Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, Marc Veasey, D-Fort Worth and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Houston.
U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, talks to staffers from Hillary Clinton's Iowa campaign at a morning campaign event in Iowa City on Sunday, August 30, 2015. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, speaks to a group of Hillary Clinton supporters at a campaign event held at the home of Mark and Sharon Naughton in Iowa City on Aug. 30, 2015. U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show on Oct. 28. San Antonio native Joaquin Castro, a candidate for U.S. Congress, raises his hands to make a point during a TribLive event at the Austin Club on December 1, 2011. Texas House member Joaquin Castro, who is running for U.S. Congress, makes a point at a TribLive event on December 1, 2011. Joaquin Castro of San Antonio, a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, listens to a question at TribLive on December 1, 2011. Tribune Editor Evan Smith, l, listens as Joaquin Castro, candidate for U.S. Congress, makes a point during an event at the Austin Club on December 1, 2011. Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith, l, gestures toward candidate for U.S. Congress Joaquin Castro, r, at a TribLive event on December 1, 2011. Candidate for U.S. Congress Joaquin Castro smiles while speaking to Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith at TribLive on December 1, 2011. Joaquin (left) and Julian (right) Castro. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, pauses while speaking for his amendment to the "sanctuary cities" bill on the House floor May 10. His amendment failed and the bill, which he opposed, passed. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, speaks in favor of his amendment to the "sanctuary cities" bill on the House floor on May 10. His amendment failed and the bill, which he opposed, passed. State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio,  debates on proposed amendment #28 to HB4 on March 31, 2011. State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, offers one of many amendments that failed adoption on SB14 voter ID legislation during evening debate on March 23, 2011. State Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio speaks to youth group in Austin to advocate for more comprehensive sex education in public schools. March 8th, 2011 San Antonio's Texas State Reps. Joaquin Castro, Michael Villareal, Jose Menendez, and Joe Farias at the 2010 Texas Democratic Convention in Corpus Christi.

Sign Up for The Brief

Our daily news summary