Judging by the rousing welcome that greeted Mayor Julian Castro and his wife, Erica, supporters who had gathered at local eatery already had heard the news.
The mayor will become the first Hispanic to deliver the keynote speech Sept. 4, the opening night for next month’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Some political observers are comparing Castro’s being tapped to Barack Obama’s speech at the 2004 convention that launched the now President into the national spotlight.
Instead, Castro said he feels proud and humbled to have been chosen, “particularly because I’ll be doing it on behalf of a president that is a great leader for the United States of America.”
Richard Romo, president of the University of Texas at San Antonio, shook Castro’s hand telling him, “You made the Olympic team, politically!”
Romo said earlier, “This is really big for San Antonio, the whole world is going to be watching this.”
Castro said other Texans before him -- the late Rep. Barbara Jordan and the late Texas Gov. Ann Richards -- also delivered keynote speeches before Democratic National Conventions.
His upcoming appearance comes with high expectations, but Castro said, “As long as I’m myself and speak from the heart, and speak based on the experience that I’ve had in my life and as mayor, I’ll do a decent job.”
The mayor said his family’s story of hard work and opportunity should resonate with all Americans.
He said, “That’s the common story no matter where you go in the United States.”
Although immigration reform remains elusive, under the Obama administration, Castro said more Hispanics are now covered by health insurance and more are attending college.
“So it’s really not about me, it’s about the great work President Obama has done,” Castro said. “And, how important it is for this country to keep moving forward and no go back.”
Castro issued a video statement addressing the announcement. It's available here.