Nonpartisan student group hosts San Antonio lawmaker Joaquin Castro on Oct. 6
Democratic Congressman Joaquin Castro will come to campus on Oct. 6 to speak about his journey as a young legislator and how students can get involved in politics.
He is a guest of No Labels UTD, a student organization that started on campus this year, said Nancy Fairbank, Student Government vice president and No Labels president.
No Labels is a national organization that was formed in 2010 when several politically aware citizens came together to inspire change. UTD’s local chapter is one of 40 student chapters across the country and the first official chapter in Texas, Fairbank said.
Over the past four years, the organization has grown to include several congressmen and congresswomen who want to jump the partisan divide and solve problems that affect their constituencies.
Castro, who represents the 20th District in San Antonio, was the first Texan in the 113th Congress to join No Labels, said Laura Zapata, Castro’s press secretary.
Castro has endorsed Wendy Davis for Texas governor, and his visit to campus comes a month before the gubernatorial elections.
His presentation will include how he got involved in politics in his 20s and how citizens, students and politicians can work together to overcome the government gridlock that has plagued law-making in the House these past few years, Fairbank said.
As a young politician, Castro has reached out to students because he feels that his story is not a unique one, Zapata said. Castor feels that what he has gone through translates well to students who want to start their political careers early and change people’s lives, she said.
“His guiding principle in government is the infrastructure of opportunity,” she said. “He talks about how America is great because there’s three things that make us great: democracy, freedom and opportunity.”
Castro sits in on the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, which allows him to weigh in on important military decisions and domestic events that reflect on international policymaking, Zapata said.
She said his role in the Armed Services committee is particularly important because San Antonio has several military bases. Castro was a very vocal proponent for checking a military base that was closing down for its international capabilities before looking at bases in the United States, she said.
He also opposed cutting down the education budget that would remove $145 billion in Pell Grants nationwide, Zapata said. Had that cut happened, part-time students in the country, particularly those in Texas, would not be able to find education as cheap and accessible as they do now, she said.
Castro’s visit to campus is No Labels’ first big event on campus, and Fairbank said she hopes it will set the precedent for future events involving prominent guests.
The organization also hosts meetings where members introduce a political issue and the members of the group debate the two sides of the issue, she said.
“The group has Liberals, Conservatives, Moderates and Independents, and just to be able to hear those ideas is a fantastic opportunity,” Fairbank said.