One of the greatest accomplishments of President Obama and his administration has been the active and consistent outreach and inclusion of the many diverse communities and perspectives that are the foundation of our country. President Obama has not only appointed more people of color to senior leadership positions than any previous President, he has solidified a coalition of voters and supporters that is a clear reflection of the many faces and voices that are the heart of the United States at its best.
Yet another indication of this commitment to respecting and acknowledging the many innovative, thoughtful, and impressive next generation leaders in the Democratic Party is why I am now on a plane to Charlotte, NC, to attend the Democratic National Convention. Julián Castro, Mayor of San Antonio will be giving the keynote speech on Tuesday, September 4, 2012. He will be the first Latino in the history of the country to ever be a keynote speaker at any party convention. Julián is a native of San Antonio, TX. He was my undergraduate student at Stanford in the mid-1990s when I was an associate professor of political science there. He took a class with me and I was his undergraduate thesis advisor. He then graduated from Harvard Law School. Just over a week ago I received a text from Julián inviting me to be his guest at the Convention. I was honored to accept.
Our Democratic Party is fortunate to have leaders like Julián, his identical twin brother Joaquin, a current Texas state legislator and likely to be elected to Congress this November, Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark, NJ, and many others. In the time that Julian has served as Mayor he has shown what a leader with vision and commitment can accomplish. He initiated San Antonio 2020, a grass roots movement to identify the goals that citizens from all walks of life ranging from business leaders to neighborhood organizers want San Antonio to accomplish over the next decade. He has also put the San Antonio’s city government in direct partnership with the school district to expand and enrich educational opportunities for all families in San Antonio so everyone there can have access to jobs in high growth sectors in the economy like high tech, cyber security, and health care. He is a tireless worker on behalf of the city. He is even a more tireless believer in the wisdom and direction that government leaders can gain if they listen to voices from all of our nation’s diverse communities.
It is one of the unspoken dreams of a professor of political science that your former students commit themselves to accept responsibility for leading the country. I have had former students be leaders in state capitols, Washington, DC, and a number of cities and towns. When I am in the convention hall on Tuesday evening one of my dreams will certainly be coming true. One of my former students will be showing the country what a leader grounded in values of progress and opportunity for all families can do. I know that his speech will be inspirational to all people.
I am excited to be headed to Charlotte, NC. At the Democratic National Convention our country will again have the chance to see, hear, and learn how President Obama, and our other leaders in the Democratic Party from many different backgrounds and life experiences bring a breadth of insights and depth of wisdom that have always distinguished our Democratic Party from any other.
We must all work as hard as we can in the State of Washington and throughout the country to reelect President Obama and all other Democratic candidates, whether incumbents or challengers. It is elected Democrats who, like Julián Castro, will prove to the country that all people can thrive in the United States if they are just given a chance. We know that this has always been President Obama’s vision for our country as well.
Join us tomorrow as we celebrate Julián Castro's keynote address by attending a Latinos for Obama watch party in your area.