The Senate confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro in a 71 to 26 vote Wednesday to serve as secretary of Housing and Urban Development, enhancing the profile of an already-rising star in the Democratic ranks.

President Obama chose Castro, 39, to deliver the keynote address during the 2012 Democratic National Convention, and many pundits view him as a potential 2016 presidential nominee or running mate for the party.

The Senate confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The new secretary, who has a law degree from Harvard, won three elections for mayor of the second-largest city in Texas. His confirmation makes him one of the highest-ranking Hispanics in the federal government, and it could help Democrats maintain their surge of support in recent years from the Hispanic community.

Castro, whose twin brother, Joaquin, is a congressman representing a district in the San Antonio area, will replace Shaun Donovan, whom Obama has nominated to head the White House budget office.

According to an In the Loop article, Joaquin watched the vote from the gallery. He said in a statement afterward: “I’m proud of Julian and excited for our country.”