San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro will give the keynote speech at this year’s Democratic National Convention, making him the first Latino to ever serve in the prestigious role.
In a video announcement, Castro discussed the historic nature of his selection, and how he was inspired by then-State Senator Barack Obama’s keynote address at the 2004 Democratic Convention.
“Being the keynote speaker at the convention this year is an honor I don’t take lightly,” Castro says in the video. He then goes on to praise President Obama’s record on health care reform, ending the war on Iraq, and saving the American economy from collapse.
At 37 years old, Castro is one of America’s youngest mayors — and one of the Democratic Party’s brightest rising stars. Jordan Fabian reports for Univision:
Castro’s Mexican-American heritage and his political skills have put him on the radar as someone who could fill the position of his party’s Latino standard-bearer at a time when Latino voters are gaining more and more political influence.
“Julián Castro has a very good chance of becoming the first Hispanic president of the United States,” Mark McKinnon, a long-time Texas political operative who served as an aide to former to George W. Bush, told the New York Times in 2010 profile of the mayor.
In the short term, Democrats hope that Castro’s speech can boost President Obama’s re-election hopes by galvanizing Latino voters. Although polls show that Obama holds an overwhelming lead among Latinos, enthusiasm among the group is relatively low. If Castro’s high profile involvement with the campaign can drive up Latino turnout, it would go a long way towards helping Obama win states like Colorado and Nevada.