Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Better know a politician: Joaquin Castro

Name: Joaquin Castro

Position: Congressman

District: Texas 20th Congressional District (TX-20)

Political party: Democratic (D)

Tenure: 2013-

Previous position(s):Texas House of Representatives, 125th District (2003-2013)

Future positions: His identical twin brother, Julian Castro, gets most of the attention as a future run, whether it be for the Senate or for the governor's mansion but Joaquin could potentially run for either.  In 2014, Rick Perry will not be running for re-election which makes it slightly easier for someone to run.  Most are saying either Wendy Davis or Julian will run.  John Cornyn (R) is also up for re-election in 2014 for the Senate.  Joaquin may not be able to challenge him, yet.  But I wouldn't be shocked if Joaquin runs for Senate in either 2018, against Ted Cruz, or in 2020 against potentially John Cornyn.  For now, his future position is a congressman.

Previous election and results: 2012 Joaquin Castro: 64% David Rosa (R): 34%

Next election: November 2014, House of Representatives

Fundraising data 2014 cycle:
Raised: $296,767
Spent: $166.764
Cash on hand: $242,057
Source: OpenSecrets

Top contributors: Capitol Group Companies: $5,200
Communications Workers of America: $5,000
Energy Future Holdings Corp: $5,000

Leadership: House Committee on Armed Services
House Committee on Foreign Affairs

Positions

Abortions.
Castro considers himself to be pro-choice.  He has received a 100% grade from Planned Parenthood, which highlights his commitment to the pro-choice movement.  He has stated that it would be a mistake for Planned Parenthood to be defunded. He does not believe that a woman should be required to have a sonogram prior to an abortion.

Animal rights/welfare
Castro has not voted on an issue related to animal rights or welfare.  He is not a co-sponsor of any legislation regarding this issue.

Budget/economy
Castro has stated that he is supportive of the Buffett rule and that we should scale back some of the Bush tax cuts in order to address the issues of the budget and our deficit.

Civil Rights

Castro stated on the campaign trail that he would sign on to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  He also liked to point out that if he had been in Congress at the time, he would have voted to repeal 'Don't ask, don't tell'.  He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1755, the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Rep. Castro voted to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act.  He was marked as the preferred candidate by the Feminist Majority.  This indicates that he will work for women's rights.  He has also worked to enforce laws against those who discriminate based on gender for wages.  Castro released a statement after the decision to let women serve in combat roles for the military that was supportive of the decision.

Corporations

He would like to limit campaign donations and have full disclosure for campaign contributions.  This could affect many companies who have taken advantage of loopholes in the campaign contribution system to essentially buy candidates.

Education

Rep. Castro believes that we should give more money from the federal government to various components of the education system, including schools, teachers, and college.

The only bill that he has introduced, so far, is H.R. 1529 the Student Aid Expansion Act of 2013 attempts to exempt some State-provided loans from being subject to the preferred lender requirements.

Energy and the Environment

He supports a plan that is usually called "all of the above".  This means that he supports using alternative fuels, in addition to using the traditional fuels that we use today.  He voted against H.R. 3, the Northern Route Approval Act, which would have approved the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Foreign Policy

Despite sitting on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, there is not a lot of information about his views on foreign policy.  He was a co-sponsor of H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Prevention Act of 2013 which imposes additional economic sanctions on Iran and directs the Secretary of State to determine if the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps meets the criteria as a foreign terrorist operation.

Castro supports President Obama's actions with regards to withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.  He does not support combat operations in Afghanistan.

Gun control

He is a co-sponsor of H.R. 1565, the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, which attempts to ensure that all those who are prohibited from buying a gun are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System and provides a responsible and consistent background check.

Health care

Castro supports the Affordable Care Act.  He recognizes that it is not perfect and would look at various efforts to reform the law instead of repealing it.  He has also worked to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program to ensure that those who need health insurance are getting it.

Immigration

Castro supports the DREAM Act.  He also supports comprehensive immigration reform which would include earned citizenship.  He proposes that undocumented immigrants should have to pay a fee in connection with earning that citizenship status.  It sounds like he is supportive of the Gang of Eight's immigration bill.

Welfare

Rep. Castro believes that there should be subsidized childcare for those who are on welfare and that we should focus on job training for those who need it.  He voted no on maintaining the work requirement for welfare recipients.




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