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HUD confirmation hearings for Julian Castro begin

Castro appears before Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro told a Senate panel Tuesday that his professional and personal experience with public housing have prepared him to be the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

During the first day of confirmation hearings, Castro told members of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs about the "Decade of Downtown" initiative the city launched in 2010 that will produce more than 2,400 housing units by the end of 2014 and will attract $350 million in private-sector investment.

Castro also mentioned that he lived in public housing when he was growing up and that his mother worked for the San Antonio Housing Authority.

"I've seen with my own eyes how talented and driven Americans who just want a fair shot are weighed down by the conditions in which they live, and this simply isn't right," Castro said. "All Americans deserve the same opportunities that I had, and I've dedicated my career to giving back to the country that has given so much to me."

Castro told members that he wants HUD "to focus on outcomes, not only inputs" and that "HUD's role is one of the most critical in government because it directly impacts American families."

Before Castro, a Democrat, addressed the panel, he was introduced by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Republican from San Antonio.

Cornyn praised Castro for his work as mayor.

"After meeting with Mayor Castro, I'm encouraged that he would employ the same energetic vision that has characterized his tenure leading Texas' second largest city, and I look forward to hearing how he would approach some of the specific challenges I've identified, and those that will be identified by the committee," Cornyn said.

The hearing before the Senate panel is the beginning of the confirmation process for Castro. He will continue to undergo questioning before the full Senate votes on his confirmation.