San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro gave an historic speech last tonight when he became the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. And it was inspiring to see a fellow Latino succeed in such grand fashion.
Julian Castro’s speech was inspirational. Not only because his story is one that personifies the American dream—the grandson of an orphan Mexican immigrant girl whose hard work paved the way for his success—but because so many Latino families are still working so hard today to pave the way for their sons or granddaughters, so that they too can be on that stage some day.
Julian’s Castro earned the spotlight through his hard work and the work he’s done for his city. You see, as Julian Castro might say, “he gets it.”
Even nowadays, when “green” has become something of a dirty word, this 37-year-old has become popular thanks in large part to his commitment to making San Antonio a shining example of how sustainability can be good for residents and business.
Since taking office in 2009, Castro has turned San Antonio in to a national leader in renewables and energy efficiency. Among his achievements, Castro has brought San Antonio’s city-owned utility well into the 21st century and away from its reliance on nuclear and coal-fired power plants, shutting down one of its largest coal-fired power plants 15 years ahead of schedule, and preventing(?) nuclear expansion. His leadership has lead to expanded weatherization and a pledge to achieve 20 percent renewable power in the city by 2020. Most recently Mayor Castro announced a landmark deal with OCI Solar Power that will lead to the construction of five solar plants in the state, making Texas one of the top five solar-producing states and bringing an estimated 800 jobs to San Antonio. Julian gets it.
Castro also “gets” the importance of clean air. So while jobs are a central part of his plan, he hopes clean energy will keep San Antonio in “attainment” with federal Clean Air Standards. San Antonio is the only large city in the U.S. to be in “attainment” of Clean Air Act standards.
Castro’s green vision goes beyond renewable energy to creating a more liveable city and that comes from recognition of what real people need.
He’s called for high-speed rail to transform San Antonio’s mass transit future with a goal of reducing congestion, improve air quality and bolster the city’s quality of life, and keeping in place strong and innovative water conservation practices in place for more than a decade.
Julian Castro’s leadership exemplifies how communities can win by, as he’s said, “making smart investments in renewable energy…in a way that creates jobs and also has a good environmental impact.” He’s proven it can be done. Simply put, Julian gets it.