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.

Julian Castro Launches People First Future PAC To Elect Young Progressives

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Julian Castro Launches People First Future PAC To Elect Young Progressives

Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Former Democratic Presidential Candidate Julián Castro launched a new political action committee Thursday. The People First Future PAC is aimed at getting young Progressives elected to office on the state and local levels across the U.S.

Julián Castro is getting to work to help young Progressives get elected across the country.

The People First Future PAC is giving support and attention to politicians across the U.S. who are fighting for core Progressive values. These values include universal health care and an aggressive plan to combat climate change. Castro campaigned on these policies when he was running as a presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

Castro has been a vocal presence in the current demonstration to end police brutality.

The nation is witnessing large-scale peaceful protests across the country demanding justice after the death of George Floyd. Thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country demanding accountability within police departments for the deaths of unarmed Black people at the hands of police officers.

Castro made police brutality a central point of his campaign releasing a policy and naming victims during debates.

Part of Castro’s policing policy requires the use of body cams for all officers to increase transparency into police activities. The policy also looks at the training techniques to de-escalate a situation and require that those techniques be used to their fullest extent all recorded on body cams to guarantee compliance. Castro’s policy also calls on police officers “to identify themselves, issue a verbal warning, and give the suspect a reasonable amount of time to comply before the use of force.”

Here are some of the candidates that People First Future PAC:

Representative Lauren Underwood

Rep. Underwood represents Illinois’s 14th congressional district, which is west of Chicago. The young politician won her seat in the 2018 elections. She unseated Republican Randy Hultgren, who held the seat for 8 years. Underwood is one of the young, Progressive people of color who were elected into Congress during the 2018 elections as a rebuke against the Trump administration.

Candace Valenzuela

Valenzuela is in a runoff election against Kim Olson to represent Texas’s 24th congressional district. The district is just north of Dallas and Fort Worth and to the West of Plano. The school board member lost the primary race for the Dallas/Fort Worth suburb by 10 points in March. The runoff election is scheduled for July 14.

Check out the full list of politicians backed by Castro’s People First Future PAC here.

READ: Presidential Candidate Julián Castro Opens Up About Juggling His Fight For Latinos In His Campaign And Being A Dad

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