Cabinet shuffle: Obama nominates Julian Castro as HUD secretary

President Obama kicked off a new Cabinet shuffle on Friday afternoon, announcing his nomination of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to be the next secretary of housing and urban development.

If he is confirmed, Castro would fill the shoes of outgoing HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, whom the president nominated on Friday to be the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.

In his introduction on Friday, the president praised Castro as an "all star" who had lived the American dream himself as the son of immigrants in San Antonio.

It's "precisely because he's lived out the American dream that he'll work his tail off to make sure more people can travel that same path," the president said.

He lauded Castro as a proven leader and an able manager with a huge heart, and he said he is confident Castro will be an excellent HUD secretary.

Castro, currently in his third term atop San Antonio's City Hall, is considered a rising star in the Democratic Party. He was selected by Mr. Obama to deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. His twin brother, Joaquin, is a Democratic congressman from Texas.

Castro thanked the president for the "honor" of nominating him and said he would draw on his experience as a big city mayor to excel in his new role.

"After five years as mayor of my hometown, I know this much-- we are in a century of cities," he said. "America's cities are growing again, and housing is at the top of the agenda. I look forward to being part of a department that will help ensure that millions of Americans all across the country have the chance to get good, safe, affordable housing and to meet their American dream."

Donovan, for his part, is one of the few remaining members of Mr. Obama's original Cabinet - he's served as HUD secretary since the beginning of the president's first term in 2009.

The president praised Donovan for the "outstanding work" he's done in his current role. "When you're good at your job," Mr. Obama joked, "people always want you to do even more."

He reserved particular praise for Donovan's work coordinating the recovery from Hurricane Sandy, and he said he is "absolutely confident" Donovan will do a "great job" as the White House budget chief.

Prior to his service in the administration, Donovan was the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He also served in the administration of former President Bill Clinton as HUD's deputy assistant secretary for multifamily housing.

During his remarks Friday, Donovan thanked his "extraordinary" team at HUD. He noted that he's known as a "numbers guy" and joked, "If confirmed, I'll be glad to go to a place where my love of spreadsheets will finally be embraced."

He stressed his recognition that "the budget is not just about numbers, it's about our values and our future," and he said it would be a "great honor" to serve as OMB director.

If Donovan is confirmed, he will replace current OMB head Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who is awaiting final Senate confirmation as the next secretary of health and human services.

  • Jake Miller

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