Nancy Pelosi

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) travelled to San Antonio for an early morning reception held just west of downtown to publicly endorse Texas State Representative Joaquin Castro to represent the 20th U.S. Congressional District.

Joaquin Castro is the identical twin brother of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who also attended the event. Joaquin Castro has been called a “rising star in his party” by the Texas Tribune and “one of the top 50 leaders to watch” by Politico.com.

At 28-years-old, Joaquin Castro was elected into the Texas Legislature and is currently serving his fifth term. Running his campaign under what he calls the “Infrastructure of Opportunity,” the Texas Representative places issues, such as education and healthcare, at the forefront of his fight for equality. The 20th U.S. Congressional District is entirely within Bexar County, although Texas’ ongoing redistricting battle may slightly alter its borders.

Pelosi, who champions many of the same values as Joaquin Castro, encouraged the crowd to elect a Democrat who would fight for their rights. The minority leader—who is the highest-ranking woman in the Federal government and was the first female Speaker of the House—spoke at Saturday’s reception, criticizing the recent congressional debate over birth control by standing up for women and their right to contraceptives. The speaker also praised San Antonio for having facilitated the Dream Act—which would have granted citizenship to illegal immigrants who attended college or served in the military—saying that Hispanic communities “make America more American.”

As Pelosi opened her speech, she noted that one name is reverently spoken of when mentioning Texas politics, “and that name is Gonzalez.” Congressman Charlie Gonzalez, son of the famed Henry B. Gonzalez (the first Hispanic representative from Texas), told the crowd, “A vote for Joaquin is a vote to reinstate Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House.” The crowd responded with a standing ovation. Charlie Gonzalez is serving his last term in the House and is endorsing Joaquin Castro as the candidate to fill his soon-to-be vacant seat.

Not to be excluded from local politics, the Young Democrats at UTSA were present at the invitation-only event, and worked as volunteers. Pelosi, who met with the college activists after her speech, thanked them for their support and encouraged them to continue their work campaigning for Representative Castro.

Hannah Beck, Secretary of the Young Democrats, helped organize the college group’s involvement for the event. Beck remarked that Pelosi spoke on the importance of “diversity and economic growth during the next decade, as well as embracing Texas’ unique culture, which Joaquin Castro is absolutely a proponent of.”

Beck believes that Pelosi’s appearance “symbolized a shift in priorities by the Obama administration,” and that the speaker’s personal endorsement, “sends a message to Texas voters that D.C. will welcome a Democrat from Texas.”

While the House of Representatives is in recess, Pelosi has traveled throughout South Texas, and after Saturday’s event with Castro attended Laredo’s annual Washington’s Birthday Celebration in honor of President’s Day.

Serving as a representative from San Francisco, Pelosi explained her ties to Texas by telling the crowd she has three grandchildren living in the Lone Star State, whom she affectionately refers to as her “three little cowboys.” Following her trip to Laredo, the speaker traveled to College Station to speak at the George Bush Presidential Library at Texas A&M to address issues of partisanship and encourage political cohesiveness.

In her closing remarks to the crowd, Pelosi urged Texans to continue to support their liberal candidates. She believes that with collective support, Texas will once again be a Democrat majority state and “go blue.”

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