Castro for Mayor
By Julian Castro
Headquarters Grand Opening
Please join us Saturday, February 7th, at 10 a.m. for the Campaign Headquarters Grand Opening. We are located at 3003 Broadway, at the intersection of Mulberry, next to Kiddieland Park. Immediately following the grand opening we will have a special Grassroots Training/Block Walk with President Barack Obama’s National Field Director, Temo Figueroa.
Mayoral Campaign Announcement Speech: SA’s Next Step
Today, the clouds have broken and the sun shines bright on San Antonio—America’s 7th largest city, its 3rd fastest-growing big city, home to five Fortune 1000 companies, a city of immense charm and beauty—the city we call home. For me, San Antonio has always been a special place. I grew up here, I chose to come back here, I’ve pursued a career here and, when March comes around, Erica and I will see our city through the eyes of parents. As I stand here today, I understand our yesterdays and I dream with you about our city’s tomorrows.
San Antonio’s great challenge in the coming years will be twofold: to continue to prosper in every way that a city can prosper— attracting and retaining good jobs, enhancing quality of life and making neighborhoods safer—and to maintain the fundamental character of our city, the sense of community and neighborliness that sets San Antonio apart among America’s big cities.
I am running for Mayor because I know San Antonio can meet that challenge and because I have a vision for our city’s future that will help us get there.
The first job of the next mayor will be to keep San Antonio’s economy growing. Like mayors past, I look forward to forging a strong partnership with our business community to create new jobs. If elected, I will be America’s most tireless mayor in attracting new jobs and retaining the jobs of our city’s large and small companies alike. As a small business owner, I know that small businesses are our economic engines, and I will make sure they have the information, resources and support they need to thrive in San Antonio.
Today, companies can literally choose from around the globe as to which city they call home. San Antonio must seize on its competitive advantages to succeed in a global competition for jobs. We must build on our strong cluster of employers in the biosciences and health care, in information security, and manufacturing. And we must aggressively pursue new horizons—especially in the green industry boom. We will build a solar energy plant in San Antonio, we will train our workers to take on green collar jobs, and we will make San Antonio Texas’s leader in green collar jobs by the year 2020.
No issue is more important to creating opportunity in our city than improving education. For years city and business leaders have grappled with how best to make a difference. I stand here before you as a product of our local public schools. After graduating from Jefferson, for seven years I sat in classrooms at what are considered two of the nation’s best universities—people from all over the world attending. I realized that the students sitting across the classroom from me there were no different from those I went to school with at Carvajal Elementary, Tafolla Middle School, and Jefferson High School. Our young San Antonians possess the same brains, the same desire to learn, and the same dreams of opportunity. They deserve a good education.
As mayor, I will pursue a short-term, mid-term and long-term strategy to boost education and make San Antonio competitive in today’s knowledge-based economy. In the short-term we will train workers in good-paying, targeted industries and continue Mayor Hardberger’s efforts to recover San Antonians who drop out. For the mid-term we will collaborate with our school districts, colleges and universities to set high achievement standards and make our schools safe. And for the long-term we will focus with laser intensity on the youngest San Antonians—ages one day to three years, enhancing early childhood education to make San Antonio America’s leading big city in four-year olds whose minds and bodies are ready for kindergarten, ready to excel in school, and prepared for a life-long journey of success. Tinkering with education will not get us there—a bold, collaborative and generational effort will be required.
The second task we face is to enhance San Antonio’s quality of life. My goal is this: to make San Antonio America’s most livable big city. From Central Park to Hyde Park and Golden Gate Park, the world’s greatest cities boast great parks. Brackenridge, Voelker, Woodlawn—these are the places where our lives intertwine, and we must commit to building on Mayor Hardberger’s contribution to our parks by maintaining the ones we have and creating new ones. Our city has a rich heritage of creativity, and we must nurture the creative culture by investing in our arts, our museums and our libraries. We must also create a 24/7 downtown—a vibrant, alive and welcoming heart of San Antonio that serves residents and visitors alike.
What truly makes our city special are its neighborhoods. And we must revitalize and give a shine to our neighborhoods going forward. When people think of San Antonio, I want them to think of the character and uniqueness of our neighborhoods—the way they think of Little Italy in New York, Chinatown in San Francisco, or Little Havana in Miami. It is a lofty goal, but not out of reach.
The first step is to make San Antonio’s neighborhoods safer. Our police and firefighters do an excellent job, and over the past two years, under our Mayor’s leadership, more than 150 new police officers have been put on the beat. That’s a good start—and we need to keep going. Just a couple of weeks ago, Erica and I awoke after midnight, startled by gun shots near our home. It was a pointed reminder that the first obligation of city government is to make you feel safe in your home. We will make San Antonio America’s safest big city by putting hundreds more police on our streets, by adding firefighters, and by giving them the resources they need to respond swiftly to emergencies, anytime and anywhere they happen in our city.
We will also invest in basic services—streets and drainage. Too many times I have heard the plaintive voice of seniors who have lived in the same home for 30, 40, 50 years and passed everyday by the same cracked sidewalk, a rutted street or watermarks left behind on their damaged homes by water unabated by proper drainage. They see the city growing to far off and sparkling new heights and wonder whether their neighborhood has been forgotten. As mayor, I’ll make sure our older neighborhoods are well attended to, not cast aside. When new opportunities for our city arise, I’ll be thinking of them. We will embrace the opportunity presented at Ft. Sam Houston to become the military medical research and training capital of the world—and to benefit our Eastside neighborhoods in the process.
President-elect Obama has said he wants to allocate up to $500 billion to communities for public works projects. I have a friendly message for the Obama Administration: San Antonio is ready, willing and able to take on its fair share of that stimulus to create new jobs, fix our streets and cut down on traffic congestion. As mayor, I will work with Governor Perry and the Obama Administration to bring those dollars to San Antonio. Above all, we will preserve in our neighborhoods a sense of community and of pride, comfortable spaces that feel like home.
We can only reach new heights as a city if we have open, accountable government. When I’m mayor, I’ll make sure that no one owns City Hall—not lobbyists or special interest groups. City Hall will work for you.
Mayor Hardberger and City Manager Sheryl Sculley have done a brilliant job—a $550 million bond issue, a triple A bond rating for the first time in the city’s history, and restored confidence in City Hall. Now it is time for San Antonio to take the next step. Whether you’re a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, whether you’re 17 or 70, wherever you live in our city, I invite you to work hard and dream big with me to build a stronger San Antonio, a city we can marvel at, a city of opportunity and of hope.
And how are we going to know if we succeed in the coming years?
We’ll know we’ve succeeded if in a generation—20 or 25 years from now—if your child or your grandchild can get a good education here and pursue his or her dreams here instead of having to go to Houston, Dallas, New York or somewhere else. We’ll know if we’ve succeeded if, a generation from now, this city is still a place where people still look each other in the eye and nod hello when they pass one another on the street. If it’s still a place that leads the nation in the number of people that march every year to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. And a place that every year leads the nation in the number of neighbors who get together on National Night Out.
That is the type of city that I want to help build. An economically strong and successful and powerful city but also a city that has the fundamental character and soul that we enjoy and that makes it special. That’s the type of city I believe we’re destined for. With your help, with business and community working together, and with hard work, we’ll get there. Our time is now.
*Remarks as prepared for delivery on December 7, 2008