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Despite Speculation, Castro Not Eyeing New Role

Photo Illustration courtesy Texas Tribune

San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro said Tuesday morning that despite growing speculation about his political future after being named the Democratic National Convention’s keynote speaker, he is content leading the city of San Antonio.

“I am doing exactly what I want to do, and I am excited about the progress that we have made here,” Castro told the Tribune. “When I thought about getting into public service, this was the role that I looked forward to, and it’s exciting to actually see progress in San Antonio. So, I can’t see anything out there that would change my mind.”

Castro’s keynote address was announced Tuesday morning in a video on Univision. He will speak in prime time on Sept. 4, the first night of the convention in Charlotte, N.C.  

As the mayor downplayed the hype over the keynote speech, he simultaneously said he was focused on supporting a ballot initiative that, if approved this November, would increase funding for pre-K programs.

“San Antonio’s long-term challenge is to create a well educated workforce … and we need to start early,” he said.

If re-elected as mayor, Castro will serve through May 2017. He said that isn’t when his political career will necessarily end, however, and left the door open to unnamed possibilities.

“If I do a great job in San Antonio, I’ll look around at that time,” he said. “The great thing is that if I do a great job as mayor, then other opportunities will open up and it just depends on what’s happening at that time,” he said.

Castro also said that he believed the importance of the Latino vote “played a role” in the president’s decision to invite him to deliver the keynote address, but he added that Obama had been a champion for Latinos well before this week.

“The Latino vote is very important to President Obama, and President Obama has done a fantastic job for the Latino community well beyond asking me to keynote, on education on immigration and the DREAMers, on health care,” he said. “He’s easily been the best friend that Latinos have had in the White House.”

A growing number of Latinos have been vocal in their disappointment with the administration for its record level of deportations and failure to enact immigration reform, something the president pledged in 2008.

Castro said that Obama has made inroads toward reform, however, and cited the president’s recent announcement that his administration will grant deferred action to DREAM Act-eligible immigrants as proof. 

“The president has taken the initiative to ensure that the immigration system deals with folks humanely and on a case-by-case basis,” he said. “So from that perspective, he certainly gets it and he understands the importance of keeping families together. And I believe you saw that with his announcement on the DREAMers.”

When asked if he would deliver any of his keynote remarks in Spanish, Castro laughed and said he hasn’t made it that far.

“I haven’t even determined the English version yet,” he said.

    Julian Aguilar covered the 81st legislative session for the Rio Grande Guardian. Previously, he reported from the border for the Laredo Morning Times. A native of El Paso, he has a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Texas and a master's degree in journalism from the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas.