Julian Castro says big Democratic field showcases talent, diversity

Presidential candidate campaigns at Sam’s in Carroll



Carroll Democrat Barry Bruner wants to know whether an ever-expanding field of Democratic White House candidates could turn into a contest of political cannibalism with intra-party clashes weakening the eventual nominee for a general election face-off with President Donald Trump.

“Does it hurt us in the long run?” Bruner asked former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, a 44-year-old Texan logging extensive miles already in Iowa in pursuit of his party’s nomination.

“It’s helps us,” said Castro, who reasons that a talented roster of presidential aspirants showcases depth and diversity in the Democratic Party.

Speaking to Bruner and 15 other people at Sam’s Sodas & Sandwiches in Carroll on Friday morning, Castro said he sees the Democratic primary-and-caucuses process for the 2020 cycle as akin to the race in 2008, when supporters of Hillary Clinton rallied around the eventual nominee, Barack Obama.

For his part, Bruner and acting Carroll County Democratic Party Chairman Peter Leo of Manning said they like the youth Castro injects into the race.

“I also think it’s great to see a new generation of Democratic leaders,” Bruner said.

Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio and the twin brother of Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro, spent more than an hour at Sam’s. He fielded questions on a range of issues and talked sports with the restaurant’s co-owner Sam Barta, who has seen dozens of visits by presidential candidates over the last two decades. Castro also conducted interviews with The Daily Times Herald and CNN in Sam’s.

“We need new leadership in this country,” said Julian Castro, who said President Donald Trump has assembled “the most corrupt administration in our lifetime.”

On the issues, Castro wants to move toward tuition-free college, advocates Medicare for all, supports a gradual increase in the federal minimum wage from its current $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour.

“We need to be serious about prosperity for everyone,” Castro said.

William Trecker, 20, of Carroll asked Castro about Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the southern border.

“I completely disagree with it,” Castro said.

He said the presidential action sets a bad precedent by stripping power from Congress.

Climate change, gun violence and health care are true emergencies, posing far more urgent concerns for the nation than issues on the southern border, Castro said.

“I hope that that fake emergency gets stopped,” Castro said.

Trecker also wanted to know Castro’s thoughts on the potential legalization of marijuana nationally.

“My hope is in the years to come that that will happen,” Castro said.

Castro said legalization of marijuana in Colorado has worked well.

“It can be legalized,” he said, adding that the drug war has been waged disproportionately on minorities.