San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro will address the DNC shortly after 9 P.M. tonight. He'll be introduced by his twin brother, Texas State Rep. Joaquin Castro, who's a lock to become a new Texas congressman in November.
Castro, 38, is a very popular mayor - he was re-elected last year with 82% of the vote. He's built a reputation on standing by his convictions and pushing hard for the policies he supports. Since June, Castro has been pushing for a 1/8 cent sales tax to fund full-day Pre-K for low-income students. A voter referendum on the issue will appear on the ballot in November. As our own Joe Deshotel explained, the tax "will raise an estimated $29 million dollars at about $7.81 per household annually and serve roughly 4,500 4 year olds."
Castro is a rare Democrat unfazed by Republican intimidation, refusing to beat around the bush about his views. On abortion, Castro told the New York Times that "The pope and I disagree on this one." He also credits smart affirmative action with his admission to Stanford University as an undergrad. "I'm a strong supporter of affirmative action because I've seen it work in my own life," he said recently. The New York Times Magazine's 2010 profile of Castro is a worthy read.
The Democrats were very smart to pick Castro. He's a New Democrat - but not the watered down, Republican-lite New Democrat that Bill Clinton often tried to be in the 1990's. So far, Castro appears to be a truly, proudly progressive Democrat. That's the kind of Democrat that will win moving forward.
Watch Castro's speech closely tonight. It could foreshadow great things for Texas - and the nation - in the not-so-distant future.