Things That Matter

Julián Castro Makes History: Becomes First Candidate To Release Comprehensive Animal Welfare Plan

It’s August 2019. We are just over a year away from the 2020 elections but the Democratic primary race has been well underway for a few months already. 

We’ve had two debates and have gotten to know each of the 23 Democrats running for President a bit better as they share their policy viewpoints. We’ve learned where the candidates stand on immigration, healthcare, foreign policy, racism, and Trump’s impeachment. However, until now, none of the candidates have outlines policy positions when it comes to animal welfare. 

Julian Castro isn’t just the first candidate of this primary race to release a detailed animal welfare plan, he’s the first candidate for president to ever release a plan like this one. 

In a Twitter announcement, Julián Castro announced his far-ranging animal welfare plan.

With his new set of proposals, Castro positions himself among the leading voices for advancing animal protections, something that polling suggests the public overwhelmingly supports.

His ideas include ending the euthanasia of healthy cats and dogs in shelters, making animal cruelty a federal crime and expanding U.S. protected lands. The plan won praise from animal welfare advocates who have pushed 2020 candidates to publish similar platforms and to support animal-friendly legislation.

“We applaud Secretary Castro’s proposal to protect our pets, wildlife, and animals raised for food,” Brad Pyle, the political director at the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Voters are lucky to have so many animal protection champions seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination.”

Under Castro’s pawlicy, the US would move away from euthanizing perfectly healthy animals who are waiting for forever homes in shelters.

In a post on Medium, Castro said, “Last year, over 700,000 animals were euthanized in America’s shelters, a cruel and unjust fate for far too many lives. But our nation can choose a different path. This month, Delaware became the first “no-kill” state, with more than 90 percent of animals returned to their owners or provided a home.

His policy would also provide protections for farmed animals, the farming of which contribute the greatest risk towards climate change.

And in that same Medium post, Casto suggested the federal government should follow California’s lead in adopting more progressive protections for farmed animals.

Paul Shapiro, a leading animal rights advocate, has come out in favor of Castro’s plan.

Shapiro is the author of “Clean Meat: How Growing Meat Without Animals Will Revolutionize Dinner and the World“ and a vocal advocate for animal welfare. In a tweet, he welcomed the groundbreaking announcement and thought that it could lead to even greater protections for animals in the future.

Many have pointed out that the policy plan come just days after the Trump administration gutted protections for endangered species.

Castro may see an opening as the issue may have even more resonance with Democrats after President Trump’s weakening of the Endangered Species Act, the law that brought the bald eagle, the humpback whale and the grizzly bear back from the brink of extinction. Castro, meanwhile, said he would strengthen the landmark legislation.

In announcing his plan, Castro sought to position himself as the fix to four years of Trump administration policies.

“The president does not care about animals and his cruel actions prove it. He has put corporate profits over living creatures and individual fortunes over our future,” Castro said in a statement. “This groundbreaking plan will improve the treatment of animals around the country and the world, and undo Donald Trump’s damage.”

And Castro’s policy would go directly after one of Trump Jr’s favorite so-called ‘hobbies.’ 

His plan would also end the import of big-game trophies. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, is an infamous big-game hunter.

“Protecting these majestic animals must first start with repealing the Trump administration’s NRA loopholes that allow trophy hunting and enforcing strict penalties on the domestic ivory trade,” the plan reads.

Reactions to Castro’s plan have been met with huge surprise and admiration across Twitter.

A lot of people admitted that this policy announcement was enough to cement their support for the Texas congressman. And they hoped that Castro made it through the upcoming primary process so they could vote for him in their state’s primary.

One Twitter user, @thejohnburke1, said “I loved Julian Castro already, but a man who fights for animals is who I’ll fight for.”

Another person on Twitter, @hr072, said “I love love love this… Brilliant plan by #Castro2020”

Many joked that a whole new constituency may have just been created by this groundbreaking policy announcement.

Few doubt the commitment and dedication of animal lovers. They are often truly dedicated to their cause and seldom take no for an answer. From so-called cat ladies to militant vegans and pony girls, the animal welfare/rights community is a tight knit community that may just help carry Castro into the next debates with this new policy plan.

Julián Castro Is Backing Sen. Elizabeth Warren For President, Now Many Are Wondering If She Will Pick Him As Her VP

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Julián Castro Is Backing Sen. Elizabeth Warren For President, Now Many Are Wondering If She Will Pick Him As Her VP

elizabethwarren / Instagram

Last year, a large number of Democrats came forward to announce they’d be seeking to run for the President of the United States in 2020. Now, a couple of months later, and after several debates, many of the candidates have dropped out. Today, in the New Year, we now have 14 Democrats seeking to unseat President Donald Trump. You’re probably wondering why we still have 14 Democrats running for president when many have dropped out. The reason is more new candidates are jumping in the race, but do we really need so many presidential hopefuls? No. So, one of those that candidates that sadly left the President’s race are supporting a top contender, and here’s why it’s so crucial now. 

Last week, Julián Castro announced he was dropping out of the presidential race. Now, Castro said he is fully endorsing Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Castro posted his endorsement on Twitter, which was accompanied by a video. Castro began his statement by saying that his success can be attributed to the strong women in his life. 

“Elizabeth and I share a vision of America, where everyone counts. An America where people⁠—not the wealthy or well-connected⁠—are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change,” Castro tweeted. 

He added in his video, “There’s one candidate I see who is unafraid to fight like hell to make sure that America’s promise will be there for everyone. [Sen. Warren] will make sure that no matter where you live in America — or where your family came from in the world, you have a path to opportunity, too.”

His statement comes at a critical time because while 14 candidates are still in the race, so far, only three Democrats prove to be bringing big money through their fundraising efforts. 

Credit: @MoogleSpace / Twitter

As we noted, Sen. Bernie Sanders has raised the most money out of all the Democratic candidates with $34.5 million. In second was former Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who raised more than $24.7 million. Former President Joe Biden raised $22.7 million. Sen. Elizabeth Warren raised $21.2 million, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang raised more than $16.5 million. The rest of the candidates, while many, are falling through the wayside, and it’s also the reason Castro had to drop out. 

What Castro lacked in funds, he made up for in support. Many thought his campaign was the first to bring forth actual policy change on immigration, border security, and environmental rights — so his opinion matters much. But his endorsement could leave some confused about which candidate is the right one for them.

Credit: @JeanPodrasky / Twitter

Several politicians have a strong following, and while they are not running for President in 2020, have voiced their support for presidential candidates. People around the country are seeking their opinion as to who the best candidate currently is. 

For example, fans of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez know that she is backing Sen. Sanders, as is Rep. Ilhan Omar. As far as Sen. Warren is concerned, besides Castro, Rep. Raúl Grijalva and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, are also supporting her. Biden has the most support from Democrats in Congress. 

Some speculated that Castro’s endorsement came soon after his announcement that he was dropping out because there’s no time like the present. 

“Castro + Warren’s policy teams had mutual affection early in the race, as both ran plan-focused campaigns,” a CNN reporter tweeted. “The candidates praised each other publicly. If there’s any surprise, it’s that he endorsed so quickly after dropping out, but Warren needs energy now.” 

Warren did thank Castro for his endorsement, and who knows, maybe she’ll choose him as her running mate?

Credit: @adamcbest / Twitter

We won’t get our hopes up just yet, but if Warren continues her positive stride toward the Presidential office, choosing Castro to be her VP would get her a lot of brownie points. And, yes, people on social media are already imagining this dream team as Hollywood actors Annette Bening and Oscar Isaac (see tweet above). 

The senator expressed her gratitude over his endorsement on Twitter, saying, “Thank you, @JulianCastro! You’ve been a powerful voice for bold, progressive change, and I’m honored to have your support. Together, we’ll fight to make sure every single family in America has a path to opportunity.”

READ: His Campaign Is Over But Julian Castro Has A Bright Future In The Democratic Party

Julian Castro May Not Be The Nominee In 2020 But Don’t Worry, The Candidate Has Many Other Options To Make A Difference

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Julian Castro May Not Be The Nominee In 2020 But Don’t Worry, The Candidate Has Many Other Options To Make A Difference

@JulianCastro / Twitter

Julian Castro may have ended his bid for president in 2020, but that doesn’t mean the 45-year-old Democrat won’t be making waves in the near future. The former Housing and Urban Development Secretary and mayor of San Antonio, Texas could be the state’s prospective governor in 2022. Texas has been inching further to the left in recent years and Democrats like Beto O’Rourke, Castro, and community organizers have been building broader coalitions in the notoriously conservative state. 

Moreover, Castro could be the presidential nominee’s running mate. In 2016, Hillary Clinton audited Castro as her potential Vice President but instead chose Senator Tim Kaine a non-Latinx, Spanish-speaker citing Castro’s lack of experience. Shortly after dropping out of the race, Castro endorsed Elizabeth Warren for president. Could the pair be the winning duo the party needs to unseat the far-right Republican incumbent? Only time will tell. 

Some believe Castro would be tough competition for Texas governor.

Ryan J. Rusak of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram believes the end of Castro’s presidential campaign could signal a new beginning. While Castro didn’t make as big as a splash as say the billionaires who could invest tens of millions of dollars into their campaigns, he was able to set himself apart by being the first to center issues like immigration, reproductive rights for trans women and men, mass incarceration and police brutality as gun violence. Castro exited the race with a largely unscathed reputation and larger name recognition. 

Rusak believes a governor’s race between O’Rourke and Castro could further shift Texas left. A healthy rivalry could be good for Texas politics. 

“Watching them dance around each other will be fascinating. Castro seems stronger right now, but he doesn’t have O’Rourke’s statewide track record,” Rusak wrote. “Their rivalry, if one develops, could shape Texas Democratic politics for years. O’Rourke is concentrating on raising money to help Democrats win the Texas House, the kind of effort that could give him lots of favors to call in for a statewide race.” 

The former San Antonio mayor could end being the first Latinx Vice President. 

Castro, having previously been a part of Obama’s cabinet, might be sitting pretty in a different office should the Democratic presidential nominee win. 

“Castro will almost certainly be considered as a running mate by his party’s nominee or could end up in another Cabinet post,” Rusak wrote. 

Roughly four days after dropping out of the race, Castro endorsed Warren for President. Many believe this means he might be her running mate – although it could be wishful thinking. 

“Today I’m proud to endorse @ewarren for president. Elizabeth and I share a vision of America where everyone counts. An America where people⁠—not the wealthy or well-connected⁠—are put first. I’m proud to join her in the fight for big, structural change,” Castro wrote on Twitter. 

The New York Times found the endorsement unsurprising since the two candidates have been close allies throughout the campaign. The paper even offered that his endorsement could reinvigorate her campaign. Castro plans on traveling to New York City with Warren to give her a boost on the trail. 

“It formalizes a partnership that could help Ms. Warren reignite excitement at a critical moment. Ms. Warren has fallen from her polling peak in early October when she was hailed as the race’s ascendant front-runner and the standard-bearer for the party’s progressive wing,” according to the New York Times. 

However, Castro has previously said he didn’t want to be Vice President.

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, the host asked Castro if he had any interest in being Vice President if he isn’t the nominee. Castro’s answer may have some of his fans disappointed. 

“Is it possible you might want to be vice president if the president thing doesn’t work out?” Kimmel asked Castro. “No, no, I’ve been there and done that last time,” Castro responded.

Nevertheless, CNN notes that presidential candidates often evade questions about taking lesser positions while they’re running. Many may have forgotten that Joe Biden ran for president in 2008 but ended up accepting Obama’s invitation as VP.

“You know, I started my campaign off, and we lived true to the idea that we want an America where everyone counts,” Castro tells Warren in his endorsement video. “It’s the same vision that I see in you, in your campaign, in the America that you would help bring about.”

After becoming the front-runner over the summer, Warren appears to have dropped to third place behind centrist Vice President Joe Biden and progressive Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Thank you Julian Castro for being a powerful voice, for proposing bold and progressive plans, and for using your campaign to help people who need it now. You made this race stronger—and you will continue to be a leader in our party and our country for many years to come,” Warren said of Castro and she just might be right.