San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro will deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention on September 4th, Democratic officials announced Tuesday, marking the first time a Hispanic politician has delivered the coveted opening night address.
Castro, at 37 years old the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city, will speak on the same night as First Lady Michelle Obama before a national TV audience.
The choice makes sense for Obama's campaign strategy to court Latino voters this fall, especially in battleground states like Florida, New Mexico and Colorado. The president already has a sizable polling lead over presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney among Hispanic voters.
The keynote address - which helped put Obama himself into the national spotlight in 2004 - comes a day before President Bill Clinton addresses the convention. Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak on the convention's final night, Thursday, September 6th.
The Democratic convention is being held in Charlotte, N.C. The GOP convention will be held in Tampa, Florida, a week earlier.
Castro became mayor of the heavily Hispanic city of San Antonio in 2009. Viewed as a rising star within the Democratic Party, he has been a frequent visitor to Washington and the White House during his first term.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the 2012 Democratic convention chairman, issued a statement praising Castro's record as mayor.
"Julián Castro has worked tirelessly to move San Antonio forward by building its economy from the middle out, not the top down, by putting the city on a path to being a leader in the new-energy economy and making innovative investments in education to prepare San Antonio's students for the jobs of the future," Villaraigosa said.
Villaraigosa also touted First Lady Michelle Obama as an "inspiration to millions of Americans."
"As the person who knows him best, she will offer unique insights into the President as a husband, father and a leader over the last four years," Villaraigosa wrote.
by RTT Staff Writer
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