| Tonight's the night for Texas, as San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gives the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. His speech is scheduled to start after 9:00 p.m. Texas time (8:00 p.m. for those of you in El Paso). Before that, the DNC will conduct business and hear from other speakers, with several Texans playing a prominent role. Watch it all live at DemConvention.com!
Hispanic Democrats and leaders certainly will play a more prominent role here in Charlotte than they did in Tampa, where Canadian Cuban Ted Cruz was one of the few prominent non-Floridians of Hispanic descent to take the mic. Just after 4:00 p.m. Central time the convention will call to order, and during that first hour Mayor Julian Castro will give the report of the Credentials Committee, which he co-chaired (shout out to Karl-Thomas Musselman, who served on the committee). Later on during the 5:00 p.m. Central hour, Congressman Charlie González will join Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York to give remarks from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. González is retiring this year, with State Rep. Joaquin Castro set to follow in his footsteps in Congressional District 20. Gonzalez's father, Henry B. González, who held the seat previously, was one of five original organizers started the Congressional Hispanic Caucus in 1976. Castro is stepping into a seat that embodies a long tradition of Hispanic leadership. Mayor Castro's speech will begin after 9:00 p.m. local time. He will be introduced by his brother, Joaquin.
We'll also hear from Nancy Keenan, President of NARAL, Mayor RT Rybak of Minnesota, and Joe Kennedy III, candidate for Congress in Massachusetts, who will follow a video tribute to the late Senator Ted Kennedy.
Update 5:43 p.m. Congressman Charlie Gonzalez spoke on behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about how President Obama's administration has given Hispanics a bigger seat at the table than any administration before. In particular he referenced proud Latina Justice Sonia Sotomayor's appointment to the US Supreme Court. He also noted that Mitt Romney has embraced the extremist anti-immigrant policies of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He closed with a strong economic message about strengthening the middle class and making sure all Americans are equipped to "make their optimum contribution to this country."
"President Obama believes in an America where hard work pays off and responsibility is rewarded; where everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules." -- Congressman Charlie Gonzalez
Update 5:49 p.m.
Earlier tonight, the Democratic Party platform passed on the floor. The platform reflects President Obama's forward-looking vision, and an embrace of building our economy from the middle out, not the top down. Meanwhile the Republican Party passed a platform featuring economic policies that hurt the middle class, extremist positions on immigration, women's health, and Medicare.
President Obama and Democrats are working hard to move America forward, while Mitt Romney and the Republican Party want to drag us back to the Middle Ages. I'm glad to be a member of the party whose platform doesn't call for overt discrimination and second-class status for our fellow Americans! Read the platform here.
Update 6:29 p.m. Here's a quick photo of the Texas Delegation on the floor at the convention cheering heartily! See anyone you know?
Below the jump, check out our staff live-tweet blog from 7:00 p.m. onward!