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Julián Castro is a Texan, an attorney, a former mayor of San Antonio and former cabinet secretary (Housing and Urban Development) in the Obama administration .
He has an identical twin walking the halls of Congress, a mother who is a civil rights activist, and two young children. Castro, a third-generation Mexican-American, worked as an intern for one president (Bill Clinton) and delivered the keynote address at the Democratic national convention for another (Barack Obama). He doesn’t drink alcohol, likes Jay Z and Billy Joel, and grew up a Philadelphia Eagles fan. Now he’s a presidential candidate, too. Here is where Castro stands on some of the key issues of the 2020 election cycle.
Castro has criticized President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Paris climate change accord. Castro’s overall approach in public office was to try to convince businesses to increase their reliance on renewable energy voluntarily. (While he was mayor of San Antonio, the local utility committed to close a coal plant and embrace a 20 percent renewables goal.) It is not clear if Castro supports a carbon tax or “cap and trade” policy to reduce carbon emissions.
As mayor of San Antonio, Castro convinced voters to raise taxes one-eighth of a cent to create the city’s pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds. He supports “universal pre-kindergarten” nationally and would like to make the first two years of higher education free. He has not yet offered specifics on his plans.
A longtime gun control advocate, Castro has pushed for renewing the assault weapons ban, limiting high-capacity magazines and requiring background checks at gun shows.
Castro has called for “universal health care,” also referring to it as “Medicare for all.” He indicated he would consider paying for such a system by raising taxes on corporations and on the wealthiest “0.05, 0.5 or 1 percent” of Americans.
Castro supports comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for most of the estimated 11 million undocumented people in the United States. Castro opposes Trump’s border wall plan, and instead has proposed securing the border by using technology and a more efficient legal immigration process. When asked if he thinks ICE should be abolished, as some Democrats argued in the run-up to the 2018 midterms,, Castro told Bustle he thinks the agency needs to change its culture and be “reconstituted.”
Castro is a Roman Catholic who supports legal abortion access and gay rights. He vigorously opposed a Texas law to ban abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy and limit facilities and access to abortions in general. Castro has long supported same-sex marriage, serving as Grand Marshal of the 2009 San Antonio Gay Pride parade. In 2017, he tweeted that the military should allow Americans of all gender identities to serve in the military.
In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press” last month, Castro said it was “time for us to pull out of Syria,” but insisted it must be on a planned timeline. He criticized Trump’s sudden announcement of a potential withdrawal as “not the way it should be done.”
As mayor of San Antonio, Castro strongly supported NAFTA and expanding the trade deal. He has said that he believes the agreement should be renegotiated to strengthen worker and environmental protections.
Lisa Desjardins is a correspondent for PBS NewsHour, where she covers news from the U.S. Capitol while also traveling across the country to report on how decisions in Washington affect people where they live and work.
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