Julián Castro on the Housing Crisis During the Coronavirus Pandemic - Rolling Stone
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‘RS Interview: Special Edition’ With Julián Castro

The former HUD secretary and Democratic presidential contender speaks about the housing crisis during the pandemic, his plans to get progressive politicians elected, and the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor

Julían Castro, the former Housing and Urban Development Secretary under President Obama, was an underdog during the Democratic primary contest, but he was perhaps the most forceful candidate on issues related to civil rights and identity.

He had bold plans to address mass incarceration and recidivism, and he was the first (and in some cases, only) contender to release detailed plans to address immigration, hunger, homelessness, police brutality, and the plight of American farmworkers. Now, as COVID-19  tears disproportionately through black and brown communities and President Trump’s crusade against undocumented Americans continues unabated, there is some validation to his focus. But it doesn’t come with any satisfaction as he shares from his home office, his San Antonio Spurs cap atop his head, during our latest RS Interview: Special Edition.

“Before I ran for president, I was out there in the 2018 cycle supporting young, progressive candidates throughout the country. And I’m going to do that again now that I have a little bit more time on my hands,” Castro says, with a smile. “I will always use my voice to make sure that good folks get elected at the local, state, and national level.”

Castro ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination just after New Year’s Day, endorsing Elizabeth Warren shortly thereafter. Since the end of Warren’s campaign, the former San Antonio mayor has been at home with his wife, Erica Lira Castro, and their two children. Like millions of Americans these past few months, the coronavirus pandemic has kept them all stuck inside their home. But Castro has been busy all that time, and anything but silent. 

He’s forming a new PAC that debuts next week, aiming to elect progressive politicians in Texas and throughout the country. Among politicians responding to incidents such as the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and Sean Bell, Castro has been active on Twitter and in other forms of media critiquing various incidents of police brutality that received less publicity. Those killings were among the many topics that we tackled during our conversation this week, including the cancel-the-rent movement arising during the pandemic, the rush back to American “normalcy” before any viable COVID-19 treatment exists, and how the Joe Biden campaign can best put Castro to work to help end Donald Trump’s presidency in November.

This is the latest installment of Rolling Stone’s new video series, RS Interview: Special Edition, featuring in-depth conversations with notable figures in music, entertainment, and politics. Episodes premiere every Thursday afternoon on Rolling Stone’s YouTube channel.

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