Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio and a rising star in the Democratic Party, was confirmed by the Senate Wednesday to become secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The Senate vote was 71-26, according to NBC News.
The post offers a national profile to Castro, 39, who has been mentioned as a potential 2016 vice presidential pick.
“I stand on the shoulders of so many folks over the generations who have worked very hard and dreamed the American dream and have reached it,” Castro said after being nominated in May. “And I feel blessed to have reached it as well.”
Castro, whose brother, Joaquin, is a U.S. congressman from Texas, drew notice for a well-received keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. Though he’s not fluent in Spanish, many Democrats believe the Mexican-American mayor’s demographic profile and sunny personality are perfect for appealing to an increasingly non-white electorate.
The move to Obama’s cabinet makes sense for Castro. Ordinarily, one obvious route to national recognition would be to run for the U.S. Senate or for governor. But no Texas Democrat has won a statewide election for two decades, meaning that path could be a challenge.
Castro reportedly was approached by the White House after the 2012 election about serving as transportation secretary, but he chose to stay in San Antonio at that time.
At HUD, Castro succeeds Shaun Donovan, who now runs the White House Office of Management and Budget.