Amid what it shaping up to be an especially contentious general election, Texas Democrats are bolstering their message early.
The 2016 Texas Democratic Convention this weekend at the Alamodome will feature Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julian Castro. His rise to national prominence started during his previous post as Mayor of San Antonio. It was then, President Obama named him to the federal department.
Since then, Secretary Castro has been a staunch supporter of the President and what has largely become known as the potential platform for presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton.
“We know that the strength of Texas is in its families, our shared dreams, and our grit to get the job done. Texans think big, as big as our great state,” said Secretary Castro in a statement. “That is why we cannot accept when families are being left behind. There is no reason for that. Together, we must invest in an infrastructure of opportunity for all.”
Among the lynch pins in that platform include the rather divisive fight over immigration reform. Supporters of the Republican Presidential nominee, Donald Trump, cite his hard line which includes the building of a wall and mass deportation. In the wake of the recent shooting in an Orlando, Florida nightclub by someone accused of becoming radicalized, Trump stepped up his call for a ban on Muslim immigrants.
While Texas Democrats decry these efforts as little more than xenophobia, this weekend will highlight their formal response.
“This is an election year and there is so much at stake. There are no passengers at this convention. We are all crew. It is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work,” said convention chair and U.S. Representative Joaquin Castro (TX-20). “Together, Democrats will build a platform for our families, be inspired by the rising stars of our party, and chart the future of the Texas Democratic Party.”
Another large component of the Democratic message is economic stimulus. While national unemployment has dipped to 5.5 percent as of last year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas boasts a 4.2 percent rate.
While many credit that to the batch of tax abatement and other pro-business incentives for companies to relocate to the Lone Star State, much has to do with the emerging tech workforce staying in the Texas to fill those jobs.
Yet many economic conservatives point out that Texas is the exception rather than the rule. In many other states, they exceed the national rate due to relying too heavily on a single market sector for the employment profile rather than a more diversified approach.
“From City Council, to Mayor, and now Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julián is a shining Texas star,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa. “He has made us all proud, leading with conviction and driven by an unwavering passion for this country to fulfill its promise. Julián and Joaquín will reminds us all why Texas Democrats are the champions of hardworking families.”
With events and caucuses scheduled from June 16-18, Democrats in South Texas will be primed and ready to turn to the general election for the White House this November.