This Tuesday at the Democratic National Convention, the keynote speech was delivered, for the first time ever, by an Hispanic. The speaker, photogenic 37-year-old San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, is being billed as the ‘Latino Barack Obama’.
While Castro is not yet a household name outside his native San Antonio, his supporters hope his high-profile appearance at the DNC could launch him into the national spotlight. In 2004, Barack Obama, then a little-known senator from Illinois, came to national prominence overnight after delivering the DNC keynote address.
Castro, the youngest mayor of any top 50 US city, was introduced to politics by his mother, Maria Castro, a political activist who formed a Chicano political party and ran unsuccessfully for San Antonio City Council in 1971.
He went on to study at Stanford University, majoring in political science and communications. It was at Stanford that Castro made his first foray into politics, campaigning for a student senate seat, and tying with his identical twin brother, also a student at Stanford, for the highest number of seats. He entered Harvard Law School in 1997, and graduated with a Juris Doctor in 2000.
Castro was elected to the San Antonio City Council in 2001 at the age of 26 with 61% of the vote. By 2009 he was mayor.
As the Democrats continue to court the Hispanic vote, they are likely to offer more high-profile roles to Castro, and some are predicting he could eventually make it all the way to the top. Former George W. Bush adviser Mark McKinnon has said that Castro "has a very good chance of becoming the first Hispanic president of the United States."