By Nia-Malika Henderson, Tuesday, July 31, 6:01 PM
Eight summers ago, a fresh faced politician took to the podium for a keynote address at the Democratic convention that launched him onto the national stage and a path to the White House.
Among the viewers of then Sen. Barack Obama's national debut was Julian Castro, now mayor of San Antonio, who will follow in Obama’s footsteps as keynote speaker at the Democratic convention this year in Charlotte.
In picking Castro, Democrats are acknowledging the power of the Latino vote in the 2012 race for the White House and the changing demographics across the country. In attempting to fill Obama’s shoes, Castro, 37, is set to raise his national profile and lay the foundation for possible statewide or national ambitions.
“He could be the first Latino President or Vice President and it would be reasonable to suggest that Julian would be well positioned to be the Democratic nominee for Texas Governor, ” said Walter Clark Wilson a professor at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Despite all the national hype about Mayor Castro, he holds a largely meaningless job with few duties. "The daily business of San Antonio is conducted by a professional city manager," Chafets notes. Indeed, San Antonio's city manager is paid $275,000 annually, while the mayor earns about $3,000. Not surprisingly, only 9.83 percent of San Antonio's registered voters bothered to vote in the Mayoral contest last year.