'All-stars' to join Obama Cabinet
By Justin Sink - 05/23/14 04:32 PM EDT
President Obama nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace Shaun Donovan as his next Housing secretary during a ceremony Friday at the White House.
Obama also announced that Donovan was his choice to run the Office of Management and Budget, taking over for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who has been tapped as the next Health secretary.
"I'm absolutely confident these two individuals are going to do a great job because they've done a great job with everything they've done in the past," Obama said. "That's why today I am nominating Shaun to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. And to take his place at HUD, I am nominating another all-star who's done a fantastic job in San Antonio over the past five years, Mayor Julian Castro."
In nominating Castro, Obama has helped propel the popular San Antonio mayor into the national spotlight. Two years ago, Obama tapped Castro to give the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention — a slot given to Obama himself in 2004.
The president dryly noted the similarities, joking the nation "saw this young guy, pretty good speaker, not bad looking."
"I watched and I thought, that's not bad," Obama quipped.
Obama hailed Castro as "a leader in housing and economic development," noting San Antonio's revitalized downtown and booming private sector.
He also underscored Castro's personal story, born to a grandmother who immigrated from Mexico and worked as a maid and cook.
"It's precisely because he's lived out the American Dream that he'll work his tail off to make sure more people can travel that same path and earn their own dreams as well," Obama said.
Castro will be reunited in Washington with his twin brother, Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), a first-term congressman representing San Antonio.
For Donovan, an original member of the president's Cabinet, leading the president's budget office will come after working to help the housing market recover from the depths of the recession.
"While we're not anywhere near where we need to be yet, millions of families have been able to come up for air because they're no longer underwater on their mortgages. A $50 billion settlement by the big banks means justice has been done for hundreds of thousands of homeowners who were unfairly targeted by deceptive mortgage schemes. And all this is in part because of the outstanding work of Shaun Donovan," Obama said.
A former commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Donovan also led the federal Hurricane Sandy relief program.
"Here's the problem: when you're good at your job, people always want you to do even more," Obama quipped.
Both Castro and Donovan are seen as rising stars in the Democratic Party, and the nominations are thought to be helpful resume padding. Castro, among the most visible Hispanic members of the party, has been widely considered a top candidate for the party's vice presidential nomination in 2016. Donovan is thought to be considering a run as New York City mayor following his time in the Obama administration.