Newly sworn-in HUD Secretary Castro gets his first D.C. party

Former San Antonio mayor and now HUD Secretary Julian Castro speaks at a conference in Washington earlier this year. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

It’s not every day that you move to Washington and somebody throws you a big party. But Julian Castro, the new secretary of Housing and Urban Development, was the star attraction Monday night at an event honoring top Latinos in the Obama administration.

Just hours after being sworn in, the 39-year -old Castro capped his first full day on the job by attending a reception hosted by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute called “Celebrating Latino Cabinet Members.”

But not everyone being feted actually has a seat at the big table.

In addition to Castro, there was Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez and Maria Contreras-Sweet, the administrator of the Small Business Administration. All three have seats in the Cabinet room as the SBA job was elevated to the Cabinet by Obama. But the reception also honored Katherine Archuleta, director of the Office of Personnel Management. That’ll be seen as a stretch by some since the OPM director’s job is not officially considered Cabinet level, according to the White House Web site.

But three’s just a crowd and four is a good reason to party, so the CHCI event in the Russell Senate Office Building was packed with aides, interns, lobbyists and lawmakers, including Reps. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) and Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.).

As the new kid on the block — and the one with the biggest national political aspirations — Castro was clearly the star of the show. He was mobbed when he walked in by interns, lobbyists and operatives, who quickly whispered words into his ear and begged for a selfie. He obliged, smiling and posing for pictures before moving on.

Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced Castro to the room. “I don’t have too many people with the last name Castro that I like,” joked the Cuban-American critic of the Castro regime in Havana.

When it was his turn to speak, Castro acknowledged “my baby brother,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Tex.), who was standing near the front of the stage. The congressman was born one minute after the secretary.

For those who keep score of such things, the event was sponsored by several corporations with business before the four administration officials, according to a program for the reception. Sponsors included Bank of America, Cargill, McDonald’s, Samsung, Mary Kay, the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers and Toyota. The auto company operates a large production facility in the San Antonio area, where Castro was mayor until last week.



Ed O’Keefe is covering the 2016 presidential campaign, with a focus on Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates. He's covered presidential and congressional politics since 2008. Off the trail, he's covered Capitol Hill, federal agencies and the federal workforce, and spent a brief time covering the war in Iraq.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read Politics



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Next Story
Colby Itkowitz · July 29, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.