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Latino voters, politics discussed in Q&A session
Melissa Wylie / Senior Staff Writer
San Antonio mayor Julian Castro drew a full house Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at the Lyceum as he discussed the major influence of politics throughout his life and his effort to be equally influential.
Castro and his mentor Luis R. Fraga, political science professor at the University of Washington in Seattle, were seated center stage in cushioned chairs as a question and answer session took place in the Lyceum, lasting about two hours.
The two friends combined good-humored banter and political commentary, evoking laughter and applause from the crowd as Castro illustrated his personal experiences and opinion of the changing U.S. demographics.
“I look forward to the day when Latino voters are so integrated into politics that it’s like any other voters,” Castro said. “And that day has come.”
Castro said those looking to make a difference on a large or small scale need to become politically active and ignore the fear of public scrutiny.
“You can be who you are, not lose yourself, and still go into politics,” Castro said. “You should look upon public service as an opportunity to do good for other people.”
Political science senior Peggy Ordonez said she aspires to work in the political field and identified with his message of staying true to your beliefs.
“If you want to get into politics, know what you stand for and don’t let it change you,” Ordonez said. “That’s very important to me.”
Ordonez said she is a “huge” supporter of Castro because of his views and his demeanor.
“He’s a Latino, but that’s not what makes him who he is necessarily,” she said.
Castro said Latinos have a growing role in determining who wins elections and it is important for leaders to find ways of representing that speak to everyone,
Fraga presented Castro, a former student of his, with questions spanning several topics. He said that Castro has found success in a position that often does not have significant authority.
“The primary power a mayor has is scissor power because you cut a lot of ribbon,” Fraga said. “But you have become a real leader despite the absence of formal power.”
Castro said that as mayor he has focused on issues that he and the community are passionate about. He also said it is important that he unites the people’s interests.
“Unless the mayor speaks, there’s not one voice,” Castro said. “I think that’s where the power comes from.”
Castro spoke of his experience at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, where he gave the keynote address and became the first Hispanic to do so.
“It was very crazy,” Castro said. “That whole week was just a blur.”
The Huffington Post recently ran an article calling Castro “the next Obama” and a possible 2016 Democratic presidential candidate. Castro said it is not likely that he will work at the national level.
“It’s not what I want to do,” Castro said. “Though I think it would be exciting to work in this administration.”