The Washington Post

As his star rises, Castro keeps some old allies close

President Obama listens as he is introduced by new Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro on July 31 at the Housing and Urban Development Department in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Julian Castro has been on the job as secretary of housing and urban development for less than a month, but he’s already a man about town. As our colleagues Ed O’Keefe and Phil Rucker reported Thursday, Castro is being courted by the Clintons. He even shared a meal at former president Bill Clinton’s Washington house last week with other Democrats from the Clinton network.

For a guy who interned in the Clinton White House during college, we imagine that must be some heady stuff.

But what is it they say about old friends keeping you grounded?

Before the former San Antonio mayor and rising political star goes to Washington, we’re hearing he’s bringing a few fellow Texans along with him for the ride.

Since moving to Washington last month — he was officially sworn in July 28 and a ceremony is expected next week — Castro has brought at least three aides with him from San Antonio.

Jaime Castillo, his city hall chief of staff, will serve as a deputy chief of staff at HUD. Castillo is a former reporter and columnist for the San Antonio-Express News. Frances A. Gonzalez, who handled housing, transportation, financial and water issues in the mayor’s office, will be a policy aide. She’s also a former assistant city manager. In addition, a personal aide and scheduler from his mayoral run has transitioned with Castro to HUD, and we hear he may bring on other outside hires soon.

Of course it’s not unusual for new Cabinet secretaries to enlist familiar faces.

And as they settle in, Castro and his friends won’t be the only newbies around the agency. The department is on a hiring spree, planning to add 1,000 jobs this year.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.



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