Citing his family's experience living in public housing when he was a child, Mayor Julian Castro today goes before the Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs to begin the process of his confirmation to become the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 1200 WOAI news reports.
In his prepared testimony, a copy of which was provided to 1200 WOAI news, Castro will tell the committee about his life story, which included being raised by a mother who worked for the San Antonio Housing Authority and a father who twice lived in public housing.
"I've seen with my own eyes how talented and driven Americans who just want a fair shot are weighed down by the conditions in which they live, and this simply isn't right," Castro will tell the committee. "All Americans deserve the same opportunities that I had, and I have dedicated my career to given back to the country to giving back to the country that has given so much to me."
Castro also plans to tout his 'decade of downtown' initiative.
"This effort has attracted $350 million in private sector investment which will produce more than 2400 housing units by the end of 2014," Castro will say. "Looking ahead, during my recent visits with Committee members, many of you asked about my priorities if I am confirmed. Allow me to share two of them with you. First, I am a believer in cross-agency collaboration."
The mayor will stress the East Side redevelopment effort which has prospered under able leaders like Jackie Gorman of SAGE. The East Side was one of five areas in the country recently designation as a 'Promise Zone initiative.'
"Second, as a local elected official, I am also keenly aware of the value of measuring results," the Mayor will say. "In San Antonio, we initiated a process of unprecedented public engagement and accountability called SA2020."
He will stress the numerous programs which came out of the SA2020 process.
Interestingly, the Mayor will not mention two downtown controversies which have dogged his administration. His prepared testimony makes no mention of the wildly unpopular downtown streetcar proposal, which is facing growing opposition among city officials and the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association, and is being held up nationwide as an example of waste in government.
His testimony also does not mention the decision by the University of the Incarnate Word to scrap plans to build its medical school downtown in favor of construction at Brooks City Base, in a major blow to the 'decade of downtown' initiative.
Castro's confirmation is expected to be smooth and is expected to take place before Congress adjourns for summer recess. Castro will be introduced to the committee by Republican Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) as an example of the bipartisan support he is expected to obtain in the Senate.