Julián Castro, former Obama Cabinet member, announces 2020 presidential run

Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee where she is able to influence US foreign policy

Assailing US President Donald Trump for "a crisis of leadership", former Obama Cabinet member Julian Castro has joined the 2020 presidential race as the rush of Democrats making early moves to challenge the incumbent accelerates.

The 44-year-old, who rose to national prominence with an electrifying keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic convention, seems set to become the second high-profile Democrat to announce their candidacy for 2020 following MA senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign launch at the end of last year. "We're going to work", Castro said in a video last month announcing he was testing the waters.

At 44, Castro will be one of the youngest candidates, a generation younger than potential competitors like Senators Bernie Sanders, 77, and Elizabeth Warren, 69, as well as former Vice President Joe Biden, 76.

Even some supporters at Castro's announcement could be torn if O'Rourke gets in the race. He only barely registers in polls, and sometimes isn't included as an option at all. The committee held a hearing on "HUD Accountability". John Delaney, a former congressman from Maryland, launched his presidential bid in 2017, and Sen.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who has been in the midst of a book tour, also is expected to launch a presidential bid soon. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) will announce on CNN's "The Van Jones Show" on Saturday that she is also running. "America was the place where dreams could become real, but right now, the relay isn't working", he said. "We say no to scapegoating immigrants, and yes to 'Dreamers, ' yes to keeping families together". "And the opportunities that made America, America are reaching fewer and fewer people".

"When my grandmother got here nearly a hundred years ago, I'm sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America", Mr Castro said in a statement announcing his campaign.

A Latino candidate would be expected to generate enthusiasm among the country's large and growing population of Hispanic voters.

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Evidence of this strategy peppered the plaza on San Antonio's West Side where Castro announced on Saturday: A mariachi band welcomed guests, as taco trucks fed people outside.

He made the announcement as a government shutdown dragged into the longest in U.S. history, and as the field of 2020 contenders widens and anticipation grows around bigger names still considering runs.

He wanted a contrast, however, from the current president. -Mexican border that has created a partial federal government shutdown now into its fourth week.

"Yes, we must have border security, but there is a smart and humane way to do it".

Castro would be the first identical twin elected president. His brother, Joaquin, is a member of the House from Texas.

Castro is the third candidate with a Latino background to seek the presidency in recent years, after two Republicans - Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida - unsuccessfully faced Trump in that party's 2016 primary campaign.

Castro had already indicated his intentions to run, making a trip to Iowa in August ahead of the midterm elections, releasing a memoir in October and launching an exploratory committee in December, which gave him the legal ability to begin raising campaign money.

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