Former San Antonio, Texas Mayor and HUD Secretary (in the Obama Administration) Julián Castro (D) has formed a 2020 presidential campaign exploratory committee.

Julián Castro (D) in Indianola, Iowa [September 2013 file photo].

I Know the Promise of America

Growing up in Texas, America wasn’t just my home, my country. It was also a promise — a promise that my family could have a better life.

My grandmother, Victoria, came here when she was seven years old. She never made it past the fourth grade, but she taught her family the value of hard work. Cleaning other people’s houses, taking care of their kids, cooking their food. It wasn’t an easy life. It was her gift to her daughter. And eventually, to my brother and me.

My mom, Rosie — she’s the strongest person I’ve ever known. First in our family to graduate from college. One of the first Chicanas in the history of San Antonio to run for city council. And a single mom. Teaching my brother and me that if you want to make a change in your life, in your community, you don’t wait. You work. “Make your future happen,” she’d say to us.

So we did. My brother and I went to San Antonio public schools, then college, then law school. Two generations after my grandmother arrived here with nothing, my brother was a Member of Congress and I served in President Obama’s cabinet.

That’s America for you. This is a place where dreams can become real.

No matter where we’re from, we’re united by the same daily needs — a good job, a good education for our kids, good health care, an affordable place to live. The need to be acknowledged for our contributions, not for our gender or who we love. We all hope our children have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. We all hope they can worry about their studies, not their safety.

So, I’m taking a lesson from my mother — if we want to see a change in this country, we don’t wait. We work. We make our future happen.

I’ve spent the last several years traveling around America and listening to people’s concerns. Mothers from Arizona, college students in Iowa, teachers in Florida. It doesn’t matter where we come from — we want the same things. We want to do right by our families. We want America to keep its promises. And I believe we can.

I believe we can make a promise to the next generations: that if you do the work to go to college, you should graduate without a mountain of debt.

I believe we can make a promise to our seniors: that you can count on a life of dignity after you’ve spent your life providing for your family.

I believe we can make a promise to our planet: that it will still be here for our children’s children’s children to enjoy.

I believe we can make a promise to people with black and brown skin, people who wear turbans and hijabs and yarmulkes, that you can walk down the street in your community — in any community — and feel safe.

I believe we can make a promise to all Americans: If you’re sick, you can go to the doctor. If you work hard, your kids can get ahead.

And I believe we can make a promise to immigrants who spend a lifetime imagining how it will feel the day they arrive in America: We have room for you. We welcome you. Our destinies are united.

Americans are ready to climb out of this darkness. We’re ready to keep our promises. And we’re not going to wait — we’re going to work.

That’s why I am exploring a candidacy for President of the United States in 2020. I’ll be talking with folks over the next several weeks and will make an announcement about my plans on January 12, 2019 here in Texas.

I never thought, when I was growing up on the west side of San Antonio, that I would be speaking to you about this today.

My name is Julián Castro and I know the promise of America.

You think Julián Castro isn’t familiar with Iowa? The date that photo was taken at the Harkin Steak Fry in Indianola, Iowa was on September 15, 2013. 2013.