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Mayor and presidential advisor to discuss politics and demographics
Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer
Two distinguished political specialists will discuss the importance of political public service and the nation’s changing demographics at 7 p.m. tonight in the Lyceum.
San Antonio mayor Julián Castro will be presenting a forum with his mentor Luís R. Fraga, a Russell F. Stark University professor and political science professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Their lecture is titled “A Conversation on Political Leadership in the Future of American Politics.”
Castro was elected as mayor at the age of 34 and became the youngest mayor of the 50 largest cities in the U.S. He was also the first Hispanic politician to give a keynote address when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.
Fraga has taught political science courses at institutions across the country, including Stanford, where Castro was his student. President Barack Obama appointed Fraga to the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics in 2011.
“The conversation will be in the form that I will pose some questions to Mayor Castro and we will use that to start a conversation of what his vision is for San Antonio and the country as a whole,” Fraga said.
Fraga said he and Castro will discuss the cultural changes throughout the U.S. and what opportunities now exist for political involvement and public service.
“I hope to enrich the understanding that exists at UNT on a range of issues directly tied to the future of the country,” Fraga said. “I also expect Mayor Castro will have an opportunity to inspire students to think about committing themselves to public service.”
Political science professor Valerie Martinez-Ebers said she originally invited long-time friend Fraga to speak to her Latino politics class and he asked if Castro could join him.
“This is an incredible opportunity,” said Martinez-Ebers. “He’s definitely going to be a public official of rising importance.”
News of the guest speakers eventually reached the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity and Fraga is now scheduled to give two presentations during the day and host the discussion with Castro in the evening, Martinez-Ebers said.
Fraga’s first talk of the day will encompass his personal experiences at the University of Washington as he recommends ways for UNT to build a faculty that is fully representative of faculty backgrounds and interests, he said.
Castro was elected to the San Antonio city council at the age of 26 and communicates the vitality of young people’s votes as well as their political action beyond voting, Martinez-Ebers said.
“It’s not something you have to wait on, you just have to have the desire,” Martinez-Ebers said.
People are coming from Dallas and Fort Worth to attend and Martinez-Ebers is hoping to see the 500 seats filled, she said.
“Castro is a dynamic speaker,” Martinez-Ebers said. “Fraga has had more experience, and he’s spontaneous. They’re both great speakers.”