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Who is Julián Castro? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate
Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde June 19, 2019

Editor's note: This story is part of PolitiFact’s ongoing coverage of the 2020 campaign; these reports will be updated as the campaign continues. For more candidate profiles and fact-checking, go to

Julián Castro was born and raised in San Antonio, where he became a city councilman and eventually the mayor.

Castro is the only Latino running for president. He lauds his family’s immigrant background as a driving force for his public work. Castro says his path to public service began when his grandmother came to the United States from Mexico at seven years old.

"My family instilled in me the value of hard work, service and above all responsibility — for ourselves, our community and our future," Castro said on his campaign website.

Castro stepped into the national spotlight in 2012 by delivering the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention. In 2014, President Barack Obama picked him as the next secretary to lead the Housing and Urban Development Department.

Castro’s presidential campaign touts "People First" policies. He proposes overhauls of the education and immigration systems. Castro advocates for an universal preschool program for 3- and 4-year-olds and for more accessible post-high school education, by eliminating tuition at public universities, community colleges, and technical and vocational programs.

His immigration agenda includes a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally and a restructuring of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Name: Julián Castro

Current occupation: Presidential candidate

Party: Democratic Party

Federal offices: Housing and Urban Development Department Secretary, 2014-2017

Key votes: Has not served in Congress

State and local offices: Mayor of San Antonio, 2009-14; San Antonio City Council member, 2001-05

Private sector work: Attorney, former Dean’s Distinguished Fellow at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin

Military: None

Books authored: "An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up From My American Dream" (2018)

Education: B.A. from Stanford University, 1996; J.D. from Harvard Law School, 2000

Birth date: Sept. 16, 1974

Personal life: Married to Erica Lira Castro; two children — Carina, Cristián

Religion: Roman Catholic

Top issues: Immigration, education, supports Medicare for All

Endorsements: Support from more than 30 elected and appointed Democratic officials from Texas, including state lawmakers, judges, and U.S. representatives

Major donors: Campaign says it does not accept PAC money

Miscellaneous: Delivered the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Founded Opportunity First, a federal Political Action Committee (PAC) to support progressive candidates. Twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a U.S. representative for Texas’ 20th congressional district.

Other coverage:

Julian Castro claims Trump's budget cuts health care to pay for tax cuts. That's exaggerated

Yes, more people are uninsured since Donald Trump took office, but be leery of specific numbers

Fact-checking Julian Castro on Bush's 2005 immigration policy

Campaign website:

This report will be updated as the campaign continues.

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Our Sources

Obama White House Archives, HUD Secretary Julián Castro

U.S. Department of Education, White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, Erica Castro, Julián Castro: Catholicism ‘has never been far from my life’, Feb. 14, 2019

Julian Castro campaign website, Julián Castro Locks Down Texas Democrats’ Support, March 14, 2019

City of San Antonio, Elected Officials of San Antonio, Archives and Records

Opportunity First website

Texas LBJ School, Former HUD Secretary, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro joins LBJ School, Aug. 28, 2017

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Who is Julián Castro? A bio of the Democratic presidential candidate