A chat with Julian Castro: He wants Nevada's vote for president

    Julian Castro may be one Democratic candidate heading into the 2020 presidential election, but he will definitely have a lot of company. (KSNV)<p>{/p}

    He’s among the new faces in the emerging Democratic field.

    At 44, Julian Castro already has a resume few people get: he led San Antonio from 2009 to 2014; he served in Barack Obama’s cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 2014 to 2017; now, he’d like to be your next president.

    Castro made a swing through Las Vegas this week, speaking to students at Rancho High School and to local Democrats.

    He’s expected this weekend to announce his run for the White House in San Antonio.

    “My vision for the country’s future is that we are the smartest, the healthiest, the fairest and the most prosperous nation on Earth,” Castro said Wednesday, Jan. 9.

    Castro spoke in the middle of a government shutdown, the product of a stalemate between President Trump, who wants a wall on the border, and Democrats, now controlling Congress, who say different border security works better.

    “I think all of us want to make sure that we have borders that are secure, but we want to do that in the smartest and most cost-effective way,” Castro says. “The smartest, most cost-effective way to make sure we have secure borders is with better technology and more personnel.”

    A Castro campaign will focus on health care, the economy and education.

    “I want to make sure that in this 21st century that everybody can reach their American dream,” he says.

    In Iowa over the weekend he supported Medicare-for-all as one prescription to fix a health care system that’s out of reach of many Americans.

    “I know it’s not an easy task. I know that it would require asking that big corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share,” Castro says.

    Castro also wants to make education available and affordable.

    “We need to invest in things like universal Pre-k(indergarten) and make sure that whether it’s an apprenticeship program or community college degree or certification that people have access to higher education in an affordable way,” Castro says.

    In Nevada, Castro has some Democratic company. California’s Senator Kamala Harris and New Jersey’s Senator Corey Booker have already been to the valley.

    Former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke is setting up a Nevada operation.

    And there will be more potential candidates because Nevada will matter: The state’s Democratic caucus is the third contest on the party’s 2020 calendar, giving a winner momentum heading into the later months.

    Of the dozen-or-more expected Democrats, scratch Tom Steyer off the list. The investment billionaire, who bankrolled the effort to get young people voting in 2018, said Wednesday he plans to devote his energy and money to impeaching President Trump.

    “”Well, we don't know everybody that's going to run, but it's probably going to be a crowded field,” Castro said, “and I'm going to get out there, and I'm going to articulate a strong positive vision for the country's future.”

    In 2016, our Democratic caucus was a bare-knuckle brawl between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, which Clinton won.

    Four years later, a bitter taste lingers among Sanders’ supporters who claimed the state Democratic party played favorites, and who may play a role in an emerging Democratic field that could tilt more left.

    “But if the Democratic Party isn't playing nice , if they're not going to go through and allow the people to actually make the decision then I'm not sure we're gonna see the kind of grassroots participation that we saw the first time,” says 2016 Sanders supporter Angie Morelli, who tells me this year she’s keeping her options open.

    Meanwhile, the campaigns are coming.

    “I intend, if I run, to be here a lot,” Castro says. “I think that, in many ways, Nevada represents the future of our country.”

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