Obama taps San Antonio mayor for housing secretary


CHICAGO (AP) — President Barack Obama is preparing to boost the profile of an up-and-coming young
Hispanic Democrat by nominating San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to become the nation’s housing
secretary. Obama’s current housing chief gets a new title: budget director.
Obama was expected to announce his latest Cabinet shuffle at the White House on Friday afternoon, a White
House official said, shortly after he returns from an overnight trip to his Chicago hometown to raise
money for Senate Democratic candidates.
He was to be joined by Castro and Shaun Donovan, currently secretary of the Department of Housing and
Urban Development. Both men are close to the president and their profiles would receive a significant
boost from moving into the higher-profile positions. The White House official who disclosed the
nominations would speak only on condition of anonymity before a pending personnel announcement by Obama.

Obama chose Castro to deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention and his star
has been rising ever since. The two men’s life stories are similar: Both are minorities raised by single
mothers, they hold Harvard law degrees and saw their political careers skyrocket after giving lauded
Democratic convention keynote speeches.
Castro, 39, is often among those being talked about as possible Democratic vice presidential candidates
in 2016. If confirmed by the Senate, the three-term mayor would become one of the highest-ranking
Hispanic officials serving at the pleasure of the president.
Donovan, 48, is highly regarded inside the White House as a strong manager. He is a lifelong affordable
housing advocate whose work overseeing the federal government’s response to the destruction Hurricane
Sandy unleashed on the East Coast in October 2012 has earned glowing praise from White House officials,
including Obama.
As director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, currently a Cabinet-level post, Donovan
would have influence over administration policy and spending. He would be expected to win Senate
confirmation a second time for the new post.
Donovan would replace Sylvia Mathews Burwell. Obama recently nominated Burwell to become secretary of
health and human services following the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius after the disastrous rollout of
the federal website for consumers to buy insurance coverage under Obama’s health care law.
Obama had sought to bring Castro into the administration in the past, but he decided to stay in the job
he says he looked forward to while growing up. Castro handily won a third term as mayor last year.
But his ambitions apparently have grown along with his stock as a politician with broad appeal to
Democratic voters, including fellow Hispanics who voted overwhelmingly for Obama in 2012. Castro is
Serving in Obama’s Cabinet would give Castro a national platform to continue building his reputation.
Javier Palomarez, president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said
Castro is a “visionary leader” who has done more than anyone in San Antonio to address the city’s
housing needs.
“Mayor Castro is not only an exemplary leader within the Hispanic community, but by all measure, a
well-suited candidate to lead the department,” Palomarez said. “With great consistency, Mayor Castro has
set aside political partisanship in the name of good policy decision making. We hope his confirmation
process will proceed with that same collaborative spirit.”

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