COLUMBUS, OH (October 15, 2019) – Presidential candidate, former Obama Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Julián Castro, has been a consistent leader in the 2020 Democratic field on a number of critical issues.
Since launching his campaign at the beginning of the year he has put forward bold, comprehensive plans on immigration, education, housing, policing, lead exposure, Indigenous communities, combating gun violence and white supremacy, climate, protecting animals and wildlife, supporting working families, supporting labor, and reforming the foster care system.
Secretary Castro has taken groundbreaking steps as a candidate to reach every voter, ensuring his campaign is putting “people first” on major issues:
Visit Puerto Rico
Following his campaign announcement on January 12, 2019, Secretary Castro traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico, the first 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to visit the island after announcing. Secretary Castro was the first 2020 candidate to express support for Puerto Rico in a Democratic debate.
Support Staff Unionization and Intern Pay
Soon after his announcement, Secretary Castro became the first candidate to publicly support his campaign staff’s unionization, pledged to pay interns a $15/hour minimum wage, and announced he would visit all 50 states during the course of the Democratic primary.
First to Support Transgender Community in Democratic Debate
In the first Democratic debate, Secretary Castro was the first presidential candidate in American history to discuss his support for the transgender community in a Democratic presidential debate. Secretary Castro highlighted the need for reproductive justice when discussing access to reproductive care.
In April, Secretary Castro unveiled his People First Immigration platform, the first comprehensive immigration proposal released by a 2020 Democratic candidate and first policy plan released by his campaign. Secretary Castro’s immigration platform was widely praised by activists, journalists, policy experts, and voters, calling for an overhaul to our immigration system that would create a more just and compassionate border policy and establish a 21st century Marshall Plan for Central America to re-engage our Latin American partners and address the root causes of migration. Additionally, Secretary Castro’s plan calls for the elimination of a Bush-era provision (Section 1325 of the Immigration and Nationality Act) that prioritizes treating entry into the United States as a criminal, rather than civil, violation—a measure that has sanctioned many of the most egregious Trump administration immigration practices, such as family separation. Since calling for the repeal of Section 1325, ten Democrats have joined Secretary Castro in also calling for repeal.
Secretary Castro was also the first 2020 candidate to put forward a comprehensive platform on education–including a proposal on universal pre-K, increasing pay for teachers across the country, modernizing our nation’s public schools, tuition-free universities, community colleges, and vocational schools, and a platform on boosting fairness in education.
Police Reform and Ending Qualified Immunity
In June, Secretary Castro put forward a People First Policing plan to end over-aggressive policing and combat racially discriminatory policing, hold police accountable for misconduct, end qualified immunity, and begin to heal the divide between police and the communities they serve. Secretary Castro discussed his proposal at MoveOn.org’s Big Ideas candidate forum to praise from activists, journalists, experts, and voters.
Visit Flint, Michigan and Lead Exposure Platform
Secretary Castro was the first 2020 candidate to visit Flint, Michigan, and followed his trip with a proposal to eliminate lead exposure as a public health threat across the country. Secretary Castro’s lead exposure platform is incorporated into his sweeping People First Housing platform–a plan that would solve our nation’s affordable housing crisis, end homelesness in the United States, hold Wall Street accountable, and ensure our housing priorities are climate conscious.
Indigenous Communities Platform
In July, Secretary Castro released the first comprehensive platform to support Indigenous communities in the U.S. by strengthening tribal sovereignty, honoring treaty obligations, increasing opportunity and prosperity in Indigenous communities, providing justice for Indigenous women, and partnering with Indigenous communities throughout the Americas.
Protecting Animals and Wildlife
Secretary Castro became the first candidate in the 2020 presidential field to unveil a platform focused on advancing the welfare of animals around the globe, both domestic and wild, raising standards for factory farms, encouraging conservation efforts, including an expansion of U.S. protected lands to 30 percent by 2030 with the goal of 50 percent by 2050.
Secretary Castro is the first and only candidate to put forward a platform to reform the foster care system and ensure the most vulnerable youth in America have the love and support they need to reach their full potential.
Following the release of the Mueller Report in April, Secretary Castro became the first candidate to publicly support impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Secretary Castro was also the first candidate to call for Attorney General Bill Bar to resign his position or face impeachment.
In the early weeks of his campaign, Secretary Castro became the first candidate to publicly support a federal study to research reparations for descendants of slaves. Secretary Castro supports HR. 40 to determine the best process for administering how reparations would be paid.
Secretary Castro was the first 2020 presidential candidate to call for Justice Brett Kavanaugh to resign or face impeachment for the conduct alleged in multiple accusations of sexual assault when he was in high school.
Secretary Castro was the first candidate to add his preferred pronouns to his Twitter bio. He was also the first candidate to ask an audience member their preferred pronouns at a Planned Parenthood candidate forum focused on reproductive rights.
Secretary Castro was the first candidate to put forward a platform to end homelessness in the U.S. He has visited the tunnels beneath the Las Vegas strip that provide shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness. He has fed homeless families living in West Las Vegas. He visited a homeless encampment in Oakland. And he visited homeless asylum seekers in Matamoros, Mexico.
Last week, Secretary Castro became the first candidate to visit Matamoros, Mexico to see the effects of the Trump administration’s Remain in Mexico policy. Secretary Castro escorted 12 LGBT and disabled migrants across the border to petition for their right to asylum in the U.S. He also visited the memorial for Oscar and Valeria Martinez who died desperately crossing the Rio Grande after their asylum case was delayed.
Ahead of the Columbus Democratic debate, Secretary Castro visited the Columbus Mennonite Church to meet with Edith Espinal who has lived in the U.S. for the past 20 years but has spent the last two in sanctuary due to a deportation order she was given by ICE. Edith asked for all 2020 candidates to visit her while in Columbus, but Secretary Castro was the only candidate to do so.