Democrat to deliver NEC commencement address; one of four top Dems in N.H. this weekend 

For the Monitor
Friday, May 11, 2018

Julian Castro returns to New Hampshire Saturday, fueling speculation the former Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama is going to run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Castro will deliver the commencement address at New England College in Henniker. Following the graduation ceremonies, he’ll headline a fundraiser in Nashua for a state committee to elect house Democrats.

The visit by Castro is the second this year to the state that traditionally holds the first primary along the road to the White House. In an interview this week with the Monitor and WKXL radio in Concord, Castro said he would decide by the end of this year whether he will make a 2020 presidential run.

Castro explained that his main mission this year is to help elect Democrats in the midterm elections.

Between now and the end of the year he said he’s going to travel across the country “to get a sense of where Americans are right now, what they’re thinking.”

Castro, 43, predicted that his party’s next presidential nominee will be someone of his generation.

That’s not a knock against Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is 76; former Vice President Joe Biden, who is 75; or Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts who is 68, Castro said.

“Those folks are very, very talented, and they also have a good amount of support but I get this sense when I go out there and talk to people, that’s just what I hear,” Castro said. “I believe people are ready for a new generation of leadership.”

“I believe the next nominee is going to come from generally the younger group of candidates. And whether I’m in that group or not, I’ll make a decision later in the year,” he added.

Castro also took aim at Republican President Donald Trump.

“What you have is a president that came into office promising to reduce the corruption who’s actually increased the corruption in Washington DC and is doing it so blatantly,” he said.

Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, said he’ll use his commencement address at New England College to give the graduates some advice and “to offer them some perspectives from my own experiences.”

“Those graduates at New England College in a very real way represent our hope to be prosperous in the 21st century as we have been throughout our history,” Castro elaborated. “And I’m going to convey that to them and what I believe what we need to do as a country in order to ensure that they and their families can succeed and that families like theirs across the country can succeed.”

Castro is one of four Democratic White House hopefuls in Granite State this weekend, and one of two delivering commencement addresses. Two-term Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti gives a commencement speech Sunday at Southern New Hampshire University.

Former Missouri Secy. of State Jason Kander, the founder of the voting rights group Let America Vote, headlines a Rockingham County Democrats clambake in Portsmouth on Saturday evening. And Congressman John Delaney of Maryland, who last summer announced his candidacy for the White House, stops by Puritan Backroom restaurant on Friday night. The longtime family owned establishment in Manchester is a must stop for White House hopefuls.