Julián Castro talks politics, education in visit to Chicago

Julián Castro talks politics, education in visit to Chicago
via Julian Castro's Facebook page

Some have speculated that San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro could become the first Latino president or vice president of the U.S.

He even cracked a joke about it while in Chicago Friday as the guest speaker at a fundraiser for the Latino Policy Forum.

After Rev. Luis Alvarenga of the United Church of Christ gave a powerful invocation, Castro joked.

"I have to tell you reverend, if I had your voice, I would be president," Castro said.

Castro later told ABC News Correspondent Alex Perez, who interviewed him before a audience of 500 people, that he planned to seek another two-year term as mayor of San Antonio. Castro also said he was interested in seeking statewide office in Texas.

"It's crazy to think about what can happen in the future. But I will keep working hard to make opportunities possible," Castro said.

Still the rumors persist.

Castro was photographed with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday in Los Angeles. Clinton spoke to Latino leaders who are part of the Mexican-American Leadership Initiative.

A Clinton-Castro ticket has gained some traction with Twitter handles, hashtags, and even some bumper stickers. Castro posted a photo of them together on his Facebook page this weekend.

But Castro preferred to focus on the topic of education during his remarks in Chicago.

Improving education for Latino youth is one of the priorities for the Latino Policy Forum, a Chicago nonprofit. (For the record, my sister, Sylvia Puente, is the executive director of that organization.)

Castro noted a few facts and trends about Latino youth and demographics:

1) More than 23 percent of young people under the age of 18 in the U.S. are Latino.

2) In Chicago alone, Latino students are around 45 percent of the public school population.

3) From 2007 to 2011, the Latina teen pregnancy rate dropped by 34 percent.

4) Of students who graduate from high school Latinos have a higher college-bound rate than non-Hispanic whites.

San Antonio has focused on education issues and created new programs and policies, including Cafe College, a center that offers guidance towards obtaining a higher education.

City officials are encouraging more youth to fill out the financial aid form known as the FAFSA. If students do this, they are 350 percent more likely to go to college, Castro said.

San Antonio residents also voted to increase the sales tax to increase access to pre-K education.

Castro said that Americans need to come together to create more educational opportunities for children.

"The best way to ensure that a young person gets ahead is to ensure they never get behind in the first place," Castro said.

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