Join The Texas Tribune at noon CT July 15 for a discussion with former Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, moderated by Tribune CEO Evan Smith.
We will be asking the brothers about the recent surge of coronavirus cases in Texas, the federal and state response to the growing outbreak and what it means for Texans and for the Texas economy.
Have a question for them? You can submit one here.
In recent weeks, the number of reported coronavirus cases in Texas has reached record levels. In early May, businesses around the state began reopening under Gov. Greg Abbott’s plan to revive the Texas economy. But as cases surged in recent weeks, Abbott paused further reopening plans and scaled back others, including requiring bars to close once again, to mitigate the outbreak and ease the load on the state’s health care institutions.
Abbott’s reopening efforts had been met with criticism that the state was reopening too quickly, with concern that Texas’ low testing level meant its leaders did not have an accurate view of the virus’ hold in the state. Recently, Abbott told one TV station he regretted reopening bars too quickly.
Since March, the federal government has passed several bills aiming to support workers and businesses impacted by the effects of the outbreak and resulting closures. However, bills allocating funding for free testing for the virus, expanded food aid and expanded sick leave benefits for workers fell short.
Joaquin Castro has represented Texas’ 20th Congressional District since 2013. He serves on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Education and Labor Committee. He is chair of the Texas Democratic Caucus. Previously, Castro served for 10 years in the Texas Legislature.
Julián Castro served as U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Barack Obama from 2014 to 2017 and as mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014. He was a Democratic candidate for U.S. President in 2020, and recently endorsed his former opponent Joe Biden. Castro started the political action committee Opportunity First and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs.