HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Democratic Presidential hopeful Julian Castro spoke to Houstonians Sunday as part of the Presidential Speaker Series hosted by the Harris County Democratic Party.
The former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and San Antonio mayor was welcomed with a standing ovation by a crowd of more than 700 people at St John's Church. Castro took the stage to Selena music.
Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee was also in attendance and rallied the crowd in support of the 44-year-old.
“This man deserves a big applause for the leadership he's already shown,” Lee said.
Castro answered questions about his stance on abortion, justice reform, climate change and immigration. One question specifically referred back to his differing stance to fellow Texan—former Congressman Beto O’Rourke. The two exchanged in a heated face-off during Wednesday’s debate.
Castro said his passionate reaction was about O’Rourke’s policy, not his personality and clarified that he has no issues with the fellow Democratic candidate.
“We will always maintain a secure border but we don't need to treat people with cruelty. We should treat them with common sense and compassion,” Castro said.
Castro received strong, positive feedback from his performance at the debate and said his campaign has since seen tremendous success. Castro said he hopes to continue the momentum in the upcoming months.
“We had our first, second and third best days of fundraising in the entire campaign in the three days after the debate. Our fundraising continues to be strong. We have to make sure we capitalize on this,” Castro said.
Supporters in the crowd say they were impressed by Castro’s leadership and intelligence demonstrated at the debate. They believe Castro has what it takes to defeat President Trump in 2020.
“He seems to be very caring. He seems to have the ability to straighten up a lot of the mistakes,” said Dominga Zepeda.
“He seems to have the most integrity and conviction of any of the candidates. And he's from Texas, so it's a big pull absolutely. I think he can win. I think he can go toe to toe,” said Clay Sands.
“Julian Castro represents me and my classroom and all the students that have been affected by this divisiveness, the divisiveness that's happened in our communities and with immigrants. I've never felt so scared in my whole life for my own students. But right now, he's got a momentum, he's got a positive message,” said Monica Zepeda.