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Julián Castro sworn in, spends first day as HUD Secretary

Former San Antonio mayor takes over for Shaun Donovan

Julián Castro is no longer the mayor of San Antonio. He is now the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development after being sworn in on Monday by Chief Judge Richard Roberts of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

Castro takes over for former HUD secretary Shaun Donovan, who vacated the position to become the Director of Office of Management and Budget.

President Barack Obama nominated both men for their new positions in May. During the ceremony, President Obama called Castro an “all-star” and expressed his confidence in Castro’s ability to lead HUD in the waning years of Obama’s administration.

“He’s been focused on revitalizing one of our greatest cities and has become a leader in housing and economic development,” Obama said of Castro at the time.

Castro’s nomination raised concerns in the initial confirmation hearing, when senators raised questions about the HUD inspector general report that found Castro, as mayor of San Antonio, mismanaged or lost millions in taxpayer funds supposedly dedicated to affordable housing programs.

Despite those potential concerns, the Senate confirmed Castro’s nomination to the HUD post earlier this month by a 71-26 margin. Castro’s nomination only needed a simple majority vote to pass.

Of note in the “no” votes was Senator Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, who co-authored the Johnson-Crapo housing finance reform legislation with Senator Tim Johnson, D-S.D., that is currently under consideration on the Senate floor. The Johnson-Crapo bill would wind down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac within five years and had received support from the Obama administration.

After Castro was confirmed by the Senate, President Obama released a statement applauding the Senate's actions. "I applaud the bipartisan majority of Senators who today confirmed Julián Castro as our next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development," President Obama said at the time. "Julián is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods."

In addition to being sworn in on his first day at HUD, Castro spent part of his day greeting HUD employees.

"I know that together with the dedicated professionals at HUD, Julián will help build on the progress we’ve made battling back from the Great Recession — rebuilding our housing market, reducing homelessness among veterans, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and good jobs that help our citizens succeed," President Obama said when Castro was confirmed by the Senate.

"Julián has lived the American Dream in his own life, and I’m confident he will help Americans across our country seize their own piece of that dream for themselves and their children."

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