SAN ANTONIO – Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro said he will be a candidate for U.S. President in 2020, he announced Saturday before a crowd of supporters at Plaza Guadalupe on the city's West Side.
"I am a candidate for president of the United States of America," he told the cheering crowd. "I'm running for president because it's time for new leadership. Because it's time for new energy. And it's time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I've had are available for every American.
Joining Castro at the campaign kickoff was his twin brother, Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman of the Hispanic congressional caucus and a frequent Trump critic. Their mother, Rosie, introduced the candidate.
"We have the best candidate with the best ideas and the best heart," Joaquin Castro said.
"He (Julian) should never be underestimated," Rosie Castro told the crowd.
Castro launched an exploratory committee for a potential campaign on Dec. 12, citing a platform built on opportunity, education, housing, health care, immigration and the environment.
Castro previously served as U.S. secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017. He was mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014 -- the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city.
Castro, who could end up being the only Latino in what is shaping up to be a crowded Democratic field, Castro delivered the keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
He was on the short list of Hillary Clinton's potential running mates in 2016. During Castro's trip this past week to Nevada, one state Latino business leader told Castro that he should again be a top contender for vice president if his campaign falls short.
Like other Democrats running, Castro has said he will not accept money from political action committees tied to corporations and unions, and he has sought to introduce himself to voters as a champion for universal health care and affordable housing.
"Now, to be the healthiest nation, we need a better health care system. Not a health care system that bends to the will of Big Pharma and the big insurers, but a health care system built for the people who need it.
"Today, too many families are spending more than half of their income on rent. And that means more families are doubling up, sleeping on the couches of relatives or even on the streets. But you know what? You hardly ever hear about it. That's going to change. We will invest in housing that's affordable to the middle class and to the poor," Castro said.
Other Democratic hopefuls
Beto O'Rouke -- a Texan who got plenty of national exposure in his November Senate race against Ted Cruz -- has said Castro's likely 2020 presidential bid won't affect his own plans, according to the Texas Tribune.
Castro became the second Democrat to formally enter race, after former Maryland Rep. John Delaney.
Castro and O'Rourke could join the likes of former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, California Sen. Kamala Harris and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker -- among many other -- vying for the White House.