Lone Star Politicos

40 Under 40 list shows Texas political stars are young, Hispanic and handsome

40 Under 40 shows Texas political stars are young, Hispanic, handsome

ausitn photo: sept 2012 karen brooks julian castro
Julian Castro made Washington Post's 40 Under 40 list for 2014. Courtesy of Democratic National Convention
George P. Bush, Amanda Bush
George P. Bush with wife Amanda at a Dallas charitable event. George P. Bush , Amanda Bush Photo by Dana Driensky
ausitn photo: sept 2012 karen brooks julian castro
George P. Bush, Amanda Bush

The Washington Post's annual 40 Under 40 list is a little like People magazine's Most Beautiful People list only, you know, not as pretty. But inside the Beltway, the list will be scrutinized, taken as a glimpse into the future of national politics — and future star politicians.

WaPo broke down the list by state and party, selecting two Texans: Julian Castro and George P. Bush. Politically, it seems the two men could not be more different. Castro, the current San Antonio mayor who is expected to be the next secretary of housing and urban development, has spent much of his adult life in public service, winning a spot on San Antonio's City Council when he was just 26. 

But the 39-year-old Democrat (he'll be 40 in September) made a name for himself as a three-term mayor of San Antonio — and as a darling of the Democratic National Committee. In 2012, he gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention, the same starring role that catapulted a then fairly unknown senator named Barack Obama into the national spotlight in 2004.

 With everyone rattling on about turning Texas blue or keeping it red, perhaps the question should be instead: Castro or Bush? 

And then there's 38-year-old George P. Bush, the embodiment of a changing Texas. As the Washington Post points out, Bush, the son of an American political dynasty and a Mexican immigrant, has a surname that practically cements his Texas political destiny. Although he has maintained a tentative toe in the political waters, most notably giving an address at the 1988 Republican National Convention when he was only 12 years old, he has spent more time behind the scenes, remaining active in the Texas Republican Party and throwing his support behind candidates as needed. 

In 2009, Bush co-founded the Hispanic Republicans of Texas Political Action Committee, a PAC aimed at "Hispanic inclusion," which means everything from education on issues to getting Hispanic Republicans into office. Though he's remained very active in the party, Bush didn't make an official foray into the political arena until last year when he announced he would run for Texas land commissioner as a Republican.

Despite their political differences, these men represent a new Texas politico, namely one who is young, Hispanic, highly educated and, yes, handsome. Castro and Bush are lawyers, educated at Harvard Law and the University of Texas at Austin Law School, respectively. They speak Spanish and are outspoken on issues dealing with Hispanic Texans, a key demographic as we move into 2016 and beyond. Although the Castros may not be a storied part of American history à la the Bush family, both Julian and his brother, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, come from a politically active family, one that is well-known in San Antonio.

Both men have been tasked with leading their party in a state that serves as a microcosm for so much of what happens nationally. We all know that America's demographics are changing with the tide of time, but when it happens, it's going to happen in Texas first.

According to the PEW Research Center, Hispanics make up 16.8 percent of our country's population, a number that has increased 50 percent since 2000 (and by six times since 1970). Here in Texas, Hispanics make up 38.2, and they are projected to outnumber whites by 2020.

With everyone rattling on about turning Texas blue or keeping it red, perhaps the question should be instead: Castro or Bush? 

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