The Fine Print
For Julian and Joaquin Castro, politics runs in the family.
The two brothers, both of whom represent the state of Texas in elected office – Julian as the mayor of San Antonio and Joaquin as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives – share an allegiance to the Democratic Party and a belief that their home state is in the process of turning from red to blue.
“I think it’s on its way,” Rep. Castro told “The Fine Print” in a joint interview with his brother at Firehook Bakery on Capitol Hill.
Mayor Castro echoed his brother’s forecast and predicted that it’s only a “few years” until Texas gains a Democratic political majority. The pair point to excitement for state Sen. Wendy Davis’ gubernatorial campaign as an example of the changing politics of a state that has been long been considered a Republican stronghold.
On national politics, Mayor Castro, who rose to national prominence after delivering the keynote address at the last Democratic National Convention in 2012, didn’t shy away from looking ahead to the next presidential contest.
“I believe that Hillary Clinton would be the strongest nominee,” he said when asked about 2016.
“We certainly have admired her for a long time,” the mayor said, turning to his brother. “And I'm willing to support her if she runs.”
Rep. Castro qualified his brother’s endorsement of the former secretary of state.
“I think it's up to other candidates if they're interested in running to step forward and challenge her,” Rep. Castro said, to which Mayor Castro agreed and said 2016 shouldn’t simply be “a coronation” of Clinton.
Halfway through his first term as a member of Congress, Rep. Castro said he has been surprised by the lack of collective accomplishment on Capitol Hill despite a rigorous daily schedule.
“I was in the Texas legislature for five terms, for 10 years, and there were points where it was very busy, but here we're routinely working 12 hours a day,” he said. “What has been strange is how we can all be so individually busy, yet the Congress as a whole can be so unproductive. 2013, my first year of representing, was the least productive year in American congressional history.”
From his view of Washington in San Antonio, Mayor Castro said it’s been frustrating to watch the lack of productivity from Congress.
“In San Antonio in City Hall, we probably pass more legislation in one month than they pass all year – if not than in one meeting, literally,” he said.
Part of the problem in Washington, the brothers agree, is a fellow Texan: Sen. Ted Cruz.
“I would describe him as an intelligent guy, a shrewd politician but what I’ve seen is a lot of talking and a decent amount of grandstanding, but not a lot of action,” Mayor Castro said.
“I would describe him as extreme,” Rep. Castro followed up. “I think often times [he] has not been very helpful … in making sure that Congress moves beyond the gridlock that has really characterized this place for several years.”
For more of the interview with the Castro brothers, including how they stay in touch despite their busy individual schedules, check out this episode of “The Fine Print.”
ABC News’ Alexandra Dukakis, John Parkinson, Gary Westphalen, Brian Haefeli and John Glennon contributed to this episode.
- Politics & Government
- Legislative Branch
- Joaquin Castro