Dec. 12, 2018 - Julián Castro Announcement of Exploratory Committee

• video Englsh     • video Spanish      • transcript of press conference

I Know the Promise of America

Growing up in Texas, America wasn’t just my home, my country. It was also a promise — a promise that my family could have a better life.

My grandmother, Victoria, came here when she was seven years old. She never made it past the fourth grade, but she taught her family the value of hard work. Cleaning other people’s houses, taking care of their kids, cooking their food. It wasn’t an easy life. It was her gift to her daughter. And eventually, to my brother and me.

My mom, Rosie — she’s the strongest person I’ve ever known. First in our family to graduate from college. One of the first Chicanas in the history of San Antonio to run for city council. And a single mom. Teaching my brother and me that if you want to make a change in your life, in your community, you don’t wait. You work. “Make your future happen,” she’d say to us.

So we did. My brother and I went to San Antonio public schools, then college, then law school. Two generations after my grandmother arrived here with nothing, my brother was a Member of Congress and I served in President Obama’s cabinet.

That’s America for you. This is a place where dreams can become real.

No matter where we’re from, we’re united by the same daily needs — a good job, a good education for our kids, good health care, an affordable place to live. The need to be acknowledged for our contributions, not for our gender or who we love. We all hope our children have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We all hope they can worry about their studies, not their safety.

So, I’m taking a lesson from my mother — if we want to see a change in this country, we don’t wait. We work. We make our future happen.

I’ve spent the last several years traveling around America and listening to people’s concerns. Mothers from Arizona, college students in Iowa, teachers in Florida. It doesn’t matter where we come from — we want the same things. We want to do right by our families. We want America to keep its promises. And I believe we can.

I believe we can make a promise to the next generations: that if you do the work to go to college, you should graduate without a mountain of debt.

I believe we can make a promise to our seniors: that you can count on a life of dignity after you’ve spent your life providing for your family.

I believe we can make a promise to our planet: that it will still be here for our children’s children’s children to enjoy.

I believe we can make a promise to people with black and brown skin, people who wear turbans and hijabs and yarmulkes, that you can walk down the street in your community — in any community — and feel safe.

I believe we can make a promise to all Americans: If you’re sick, you can go to the doctor. If you work hard, your kids can get ahead.

And I believe we can make a promise to immigrants who spend a lifetime imagining how it will feel the day they arrive in America: We have room for you. We welcome you. Our destinies are united.
Americans are ready to climb out of this darkness. We’re ready to keep our promises. And we’re not going to wait — we’re going to work.

That’s why I am exploring a candidacy for President of the United States in 2020. I’ll be talking with folks over the next several weeks and will make an announcement about my plans on January 12, 2019 here in Texas.

I never thought, when I was growing up on the west side of San Antonio, that I would be speaking to you about this today.

My name is Julián Castro and I know the promise of America.


Yo Creo en el Potencial de los Estados Unidos

Como muchos de ustedes yo creo en el potencial de Estados Unidos.  Mi abuela llegó de México a los Estados Unidos cuando sólo tenía siete años.  Ella llegó sin nada ni siquiera tenía papá ni mamá.  Mi abuela no acabó la escuela primaria y trabajó toda su vida como empleada doméstica, cocinera y niñera.  Ella crió a mi madre siendo mamá soltera y mi mamá que tambié era mamá soltera me crió a mí y a mi hermano Joaquin.

Con el apoyo de estas mujeres puertas y trabajadoras, Joaquin y yo estudiamos en escuelas públicas de San Antonio Texas.  No graduamos de la universidad y de la escuela de derecho y sólo dos generaciones después de que mi abuela llegó a este país Joaquin llegó a ser miembro del congresso de los Estados Unidos mientras yo trabajaba en el gabinete del presidente Obama.

Este es el potencial que tiene Estados Unidos.  En los últimos años he viajado a través de todo el país eschuchando las voces de la gente y sus diferentes puntos de vista.  Es verdad lo que la gente dice no importa de dónde vengas.  Todo queremos lo mismo, un buen trabajo, buena atención médica, buena educación para nuestros hijos y un lugar accesible donde vivir.  Nosotros también queremos esas cosas no solo para nosotros y nuestras familias si no también para todos los demás.

Nuestros sueños no soló tratan de cosas materiales como tener una casa nueva o un auto nuevo.  Queremos dejarles a nuestros bisnietos un planeta aire puro que puedan respirar y agua potable puedan tomar.  Queremos un sistema judicial que nos trate de una manera justa y no basada en el color de nuestra piel.  Queremos ser apreciados por quiénes somos y no ser juzgados por nuestro género o por quienes decidimos amar.  Y queremos un gobierno que trabaje para todos los unos. 

Hoy el potencial de Estados Unidos estancias aún así unos lados a donde he viajado.  Me he quedado impresionado con el auto y mismo y la capacidad de la gente inclusive en los peores momentos.  Muchas están luchando tienen [?] dos trabajos a la vez solo para darle de comer a su familia, batallando para pagar la renta con miedo de enfermarse por no tener seguro médico.

Mucha gente me ha dicho que desea un presidente en Washington comprometido a mejorar sus vidas.  Muchos también me han pedido que considere postularme para presidente.  Quiero agradecer a todos los que me han apoyado y quiero que sean los primeros en saber que esta mañana voy a crear un comité para explorar mi candidatura para presidente de los Estados Unidos en 2020.

Seguiré escuchando sus preocupaciones durante las siguientes semanas, y anunciaré mis planes el 12 de enero aquí en el estado de Texas.

Por ahora espero que sigan en contacto conmigo.  Suscriban en mi página de internet Julián para el futuro punto com para estar en contacto.

Cuando yo era niño y vivía en la zona oeste de San Antonio nunca me imaginé que estaría hablando esto con ustedes, pero yo crea en el potencial de Estados Unidos.  Nos vemos pronto.


ed. note: The Spanish version  is quite different than the English version in that it lacks a lot of the details.

Julián Castro

Press Conference at His Home

San Antonio, TX

Dec. 12, 2018

Thank you very much for coming by.  You know I'm pleased today to announce that I filed paperwork to explore a candidacy for President the United States.

Today is very meaningful for me and for my family because I think about my grandmother that came to this country when she was seven years old from Mexico and ended up on the West side of San Antonio and never finished elementary school, so she worked as a maid a cook and a babysitter and raised my mother as a single parent.  My mother raised my brother Joaquin and me as a single parent.  And we have been able, my family has been able to achieve the American Dream.

I'm thinking about running for president because I want to make sure that in this 21st century that that same American Dream that was there for me will be there for every single man, woman and child in our country.  And I believe that our country is ready for leadership that is trying to bring people together instead of tear them apart; leadership that has integrity instead of what we see in Washington today; leadership that is focused on opportunity for everybody, not just picking and choosing who gets opportunity and who doesn't based on your religion or where you come from, or the color of your skin; and I believe that folks want somebody that's focused on the future and not the past.

So over the next few weeks, I'm going to be visiting different parts of the country continuing to listen to folks.  We'll have an announcement on January 12 here in San Antonio on the west side and well release more details about that in the days to come.

But for now, I want to thank all of the folks who have encouraged me to think about running for president over the last year, as I've traveled across the United States.  And I'm especially appreciative of all of the folks here in San Antonio.  I still call San Antonio home.  It was the honor of my life to be mayor of this city, and my wife Erica and I are raising our family here in San Antonio and in the public schools.  And so I couldn't be prouder of this community and I'm glad to be here today and look forward to answering any questions that you all have.

Reporter: How would you change the tone that's coming out of the White House if you were elected?

Castro: Well, we have the most divisive president that we've had in a long, long time.  And, you know, whether it was a Republican or Democrat in the last few years, there was a respect for the office and for trying to get things done productively that just doesn't exist in the White House today.

And so the first thing that needs to happen is that we need a leader in the White House that is actually committed to working with other people, whether they agree or not.  And we just don't have that today.

Reporter: What will determine if you officially make the run?

Castro: Well I'm definitely leaning in a certain direction but, but I'll announce my plans January 12.

Reporter: You said you've got a lot of supporters who have pushed you to at least the decision you are right now, if not another... in January.  Talk to us about who those supporters are, the ones here or possibly the ones, bigger politicians .

Castro: Here in San Antonio but certainly, as I've traveled across the country during the last year, year and a half.  I've traveled all over the United States to help campaign for candidates that were running for office in 2018.  I've gotten out to any number of states, including all of the four early states in the country and was very heartened by the response that I got,  I truly believe that people want a new generation of leadership, and they want leadership that is focused on creating opportunity for them and their family and that is committed to trying to bring people together.  And  I have a strong vision for the country's future; if I get into this race I look forward to articulating that.

The thing is that this year, you're going to have a very talented field of people; you might have two dozen people from all over the United States that are running.  I think that's going to be fantastic not only for Democrats, but for the country.  And I have a strong vision for the country's future.  And if I run, I look forward to making my case to the American people.

Reporter: What's the case to a prospective donor, activist or volunteer here in Texas or elsewhere at this point, that they should start signing up with you versus Beto O'Rourke, obviously the other Texan who's being mentioned in a 2020 context?

Castro: Well, there are going to be a lot of talented folks in this race.  I have a strong vision for the country's future.  I believe that in 21st century that the United States needs to be the smartest, the strongest, and the safest nation on Earth and that today more than any other time in our country's history, all of those three things go together.

And I have actually shown at the local level and at the national level that I can get things done, whether it was at HUD connecting low income families to broadband and making sure that we could help further desegregate American communities or here in San Antonio with PreKforSA and asking the voters to do something they had never done before.  To invest in expanding high quality full day pre K education for four year olds or to invest in things like Cafe College so that more young people could have the information and resources that they needed to go to college and get a higher education.  I think when people look around, they're going to look for somebody that has a strong vision for the country's future and that has actually shown they can get things done and I have.

Reporter: You mentioned the country's history and the climate in the White House.  Why now at this point in your career?

Castro: I believe that the American people are looking for a new generation of leadership.  No matter where I've travelled, I hear very clearly from people that they want a new generation of leadership.  I'm not going to say that I'm the only young person, relatively young person that might run in this race.  I think there are going to be others.  But I do think that I bring a unique voice and perspective if I run in this campaign.

And somebody asked me today, well, you know, you're not the front runner; you're not near the top of the list right now.  If you grew up like I did on the west side of San Antonio, go to that neighborhood.

I didn't grow up the front runner.  I can't think of a time in my life where I started out as a front runner in life.  There are a lot of people today in America that don't feel like front runners and I'm going to go speak to them, and I believe that I can win the nomination.

Reporter: You talk about how it's a large field, probably going to be a large, talented field.  Was part of the announcement today an effort to get ahead of that field?

Castro: No, you know I expect that you may have before the end of the year other people that announce.  Today is about me knowing what my vision is for the future of the country.  And regardless of what other people do, I'm going to go on my own timeline.  I know what I want to say, I know who I want to say it too, and I'm going to go on my own timeline,

Reporter: You say you'll be traveling from now, at least until January 12 when you make that announcement,  What types of issues, what are the main issues that you expect to or you want to be talking about in that short range of travel?

Castro: No matter where you go in this country what you hear is that people care first and foremost about what keeps them up at night.  They care about whether they have a good job opportunity, they care about whether their kids are getting a good education, they care about whether they have health care if they're sick, they care about peace of mind and retirement.  So I'm going to be speaking to all of those issues that impact whether people can sleep at night knowing that they have a government that is trying to work on their behalf to create more opportunity and give them that peace of mind.

Reporter: Any idea if Joe Biden will run?

Castro: I have no idea.  I expect that by the end of this that you're going to have the most talented field of candidates that a Democratic primary has had in a very long time and that's good.  I believe that it's going to be cathartic for the Democratic Party after 2016, the bitterness of 2016, to actually have a whole bunch of different voices of people from different backgrounds and different points of view and everybody feel like they had their say.  Democrats are going to come out stronger, I think the nominee will come out stronger, and I think that the nominee is going to be the next president, and so he or she is going to come out stronger for it.

Reporter: Any comments about the Michael Cohen sentencing today?

Castro:  Well you know I'm glad to see justice prevail.  My hope is that Michael Cohen also has been as helpful as possible with the truth as the Mueller investigation continues.  What we have seen in this administration is one of the most corrupt administrations in the history of the United States and the Mueller investigation, I believe, is just getting started.

My hope is that Democrats in the House will start with a serious investigation in the House Intelligence Committee and the Judiciary Committee.  As the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff, who will become chairman, has said Rpublicans did not do a thorough job with their investigation so far.  That House Intelligence Committee needs to get at the truth, and what Michael Cohen has offered up and what we've seen in court is just I think the tip of the iceberg.

Reporter: If you can talk to your 12 year old self, what would you tell him or her today?

Castro: You know what I tell folks is that oftentimes we psych ourselves out about the next level in life, or about the future because we feel that we're not good enough, that we don't come from the right place or we're not the right background or our family doesn't make enough money.  I would tell myself or tell young people today to believe in themselves and to surround themselves with people who love them and believe in them, and that if you work hard and you do that, that you can reach your dreams.

Reporter: Have you talked to President Obama about this potential bid?

Castro: I have not.  I haven't spoken with President Obama.  I haven't spoken with other Democratic leaders.  I you know I did leave a message for Tom Perez of DNC today but I anticipate doing that in in the days to come.

Reporter: There's been a pretty vigorous discussion in the Democratic Party...about PAC money,
money in politics and I think a lot of potential 2020 candidates are trying to make decisions now about financially how they're going to run their campaigns.  If you run, would you take PAC money?

Castro: I'm not going to take PAC money if I run, corporate PAC money or any other PAC money.

Reporter: People have been asking you about this decision for years already.

Castro: For years?

Reporter: I think so; I think so.  You've been kind of ambiguous; you've never given us a Yes, you haven't given us a No.  Do you feel like this is a big weight off the shoulders finally coming out with this?

Castro: Well I filed exploratory paperwork, you know, today, but you know I'm leaning in a certain direction and I look forward to announcing that on January, 12.  You guys gotta give me a little mystery here, you know.

Yeah, I think a lot of people for Joaquin and me have sort of you know they've put this image on us as though it was always sort of preordained that we would run for office and, and that's what we wanted to do.  And that's actually not been the case, you know.  I mean, yes, we've got into politics and we started early, but there was a time when I hated politics and I watched my mother be very active in a third party and I felt like oftentimes that politics didn't produce the kind of results for the people that needed it.  And and over time I came to believe that in public service you really could make a difference for people, but I still take a little bit of that sometimes healthy skepticism and I want to make sure that if I devote my time to it, that you can actually make a difference. 

And that's been part of my thinking also, because politics today has gotten so negative.  It's turned so many people off; we have so many folks out there that seem like it's just fighting, and people just throw up their hands and don't want to deal with it anymore.  And I want to be different from that.  I want to offer— every time I've run for something I've offered a strong vision for the future and what people would get if they elected me, and that's what I want to do.  So I don't know that I'm going to feel the weight off my shoulders even if I run, unless I felt like I've done that.  If I feel like I've done that, then I'm going to feel good about it.

Reporter: Where's your first stop?

Castro: So there we have invitations to go to different places, but we have not set that yet, but between now and January 12th I anticipate going different places.  Actually my first my first stop tomorrow will be to New York because we're giving you on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Joaquin and I are going to be— that's on CBS!  I thought you were asking me that on purpose; I thought you knew the answer, man.
Yeah, but but we've gotten invitations from South Carolina, from another number of other states; we have not set that yet.  We will set that leading up to January 12.

Reporter: Whether its you or somebody else, what is the importance to you, what is the level of importance that a Democratic candidate is able to overcome not only Trump, but what's happening right now in your opinoin?

Castro: We need to get on a better track in the United States.  We have a president that is trying to divide people.  We have a president that is trying to pick and choose who gets opportunity in this country and who doesn't.  We have a president that is not showing up to work, and by that I mean not dedicating himself to the basic job of being president but spending more time golfing and watching TV.  And you know I imagine that that this President could be a lot more effective if he actually spent time working, but he doesn't unfortunately,  And the time he doesn't work is time that the American people don't get an effective president.  So I'm confident that people are going to want a change in 2020, you know, whoever the nominee is—and I believe I can be that nominee If I run—but whoever the nominee is I think people are going to want to change.

All right, y'all. Thanks a lot.