Politics Runs In The Family Of DNC Keynote Speaker

Democrats have chosen Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, to give the keynote address at the upcoming Democratic National Convention. It marks a first for Hispanics.

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The youngest mayor of a major U.S. city is set to be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in September. He is San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and he's just 37 years old. This moment in the spotlight makes him a rising star on the national political stage. But one of the other contenders for that status is Castro's identical twin brother, Joaquin.

From San Antonio, here's David Martin Davies of Texas Public Radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF A CROWD)

DAVID MARTIN DAVIES, BYLINE: It's the lunch rush for La Gloria Restaurant and because of this hastily called press event it's extra crowded. Still, it feels more like a family backyard barbecue than a typical political announcement. Friends and family are celebrating that Julian Castro is being launched as national political figure. And as he arrives, they breakout into applause.

(APPLAUSE)

MAYOR JULIAN CASTRO: In order for this city and this country to move in the right direction, as Joaquin has said so many times, we need to make the right investment and opportunity for both. And the story that I'm going to be telling when I speak in September is really the story of my family.

(APPLAUSE)

DAVIES: Joaquin is Julian's brother and he's standing right next to him. Joaquin Castro is also a rising political star, a representative in the Texas House and the favorite to be elected in November, to represent the 20th Congressional District of Texas in Washington. And Joaquin is just as smooth in front of the mic as his twin.

STATE REPRESENTATIVE JOAQUIN CASTRO: First of all, as a brother, for Julian to be asked to give the keynote address is very special. He follows in big footsteps, not only of the president speaking in 2004 but also some very great Texans in Ann Richards and Barbara Jordan.

DAVIES: Sitting in front of the political wonder twins is their mother, Rosie Castro. She raised them as a single mom and as a local activist, a champion for civil rights for Mexican-Americans.

ROSIE CASTRO: We're kind of not just in the family in the city of San Antonio, but also by the fact that he is the first Latino to have this honor. It's going to be great to go up to the convention for those days.

DAVIES: Rosie Castro is used to talking about her twin boys' natural rivalry.

CASTRO: They competed when they were small. You know, they're kind of beyond that. Both of them are, I think, good public servants.

DAVIES: Joaquin remembers the competition as being heated in the early years over grades and accolades. But now, not so much.

CASTRO: Growing up, Julian and I were hypercompetitive as twins. Yeah, I tell people I shared a room with them for 17 years. So you can imagine all the fights we got into.

DAVIES: But now, no more fighting. Each brother goes out of his way to support the other. Even the San Antonio leader of the Tea Party, George Rodriguez, offers a grudging salute to their cooperation.

GEORGE RODRIGUEZ: I don't see them in competition with one another. I think that they're both complementing one another. And I think that that's what's helping them to fuel each other and fuel their ambitions.

DAVIES: Rodriguez says the Castros are a pretty political package with a story similar to Barack Obama, only times two. So, does this conservative Republican prefer one over the other?

RODRIGUEZ: I really can't say that. I have no preference for either one of them. I would say neither.

DAVIES: In Charlotte in September, it'll be Julian who gives the big speech.

CASTRO: All I'm trying to do is speak for my heart and talk about the choice that I believe we need to make in the country, and why Barack Obama is the best candidate for president in this next term.

DAVIES: But Julian says Joaquin will be on hand at the convention, as well.

CASTRO: The question is whether he'll be introducing me or not. We don't know.

DAVIES: But both the Castro twins are poised to be major media figures come convention week.

For NPR News, I'm David Martin Davies in San Antonio.

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