Democrat Julian Castro launches 2020 US presidential bid

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SAN ANTONIO: Texas Democrat Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and top U.S. housing official, formally launched his White House bid yesterday, entering as a dark horse candidate in a likely crowded field vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election.

Castro, 44, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant who would be the first Hispanic elected president, served as secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama and has long been viewed as a rising star in the party. He will seek to position himself as a political outsider with liberal credentials.

“I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership. Because it’s time for new energy,” Castro said, launching his campaign. “And it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I’ve had are available for every American.”

One of Castro’s first stops as a candidate will take place on Monday in Puerto Rico, where he will attend an event hosted by the liberal Latino Victory Fund.

He made his announcement at Plaza Guadalupe, a landmark in San Antonio’s sprawling west side Mexican-American barrio, a neighborhood of neat, brightly painted wood framed homes, many on tiny lots and festooned with white plaster Catholic statues.

In summarizing his political positions, Castro endorsed “Medicare for all,” which would in effect create a national healthcare plan by allowing anyone to join the public healthcare system. That policy point is likely to divide Democrats in the primary, with more moderate candidates favoring a less drastic approach.

He used his launch to repeat support of the Black Lives Matter movement. He spoke about the need to address climate change. —Agencies

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