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HUD senior official leaving to join Hillary Clinton campaign?

Betsaida Alcantara to serve as Clinton’s director of media planning

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is about to lose one of its senior officials to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

HUD Secretary Julián Castro said Monday that Betsaida Alcantara, HUD’s assistant secretary for public affairs and one of Castro’s senior advisors, is set to leave her position at the end of July.

Castro notified HUD staffers of Alcantara’s departure in a memo sent Monday. In the memo, which was obtained by HousingWire, Castro did not disclose Alcantara’s next move, but a Buzzfeed report said that Alcantara is leaving HUD to serve as the director of media planning for Clinton’s campaign.

According to Castro’s memo, Alcantara has served the Obama administration for six years. Her HUD bio states that she was appointed to the role of assistant secretary for public affairs in July 2014.

In this role, Alcantara is Castro’s principal advisor on media relations, communications strategy and public outreach. 

“Betsaida has led a team that has been instrumental in communicating why our mission is so important, helping reach people where they are,” Castro said in his memo. “From a segment on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart to HUD’s Twitter Town Hall with Zillow, she has done great work to engage the people that we serve, stakeholders and the general public. I want to thank her for bringing her expertise, passion and energy to her work at HUD. We will miss her.”

Alcantara’s move could lend additional credence to the speculation that Castro is on Clinton’s short list of vice presidential candidates.

Taking Alcantara’s position, at least on an interim basis, will be Jaime Castillo, who currently serves as HUD’s deputy chief of staff. Castillo will be installed as acting assistant secretary for public affairs upon Alcantara’s departure.

In his memo, Castro said that Castillo served in his mayoral administration in San Antonio as Castro’s chief of staff, director of communications and as a senior policy analyst.

Frances Gonzalez, who serves as a senior policy advisor to Castro, will serve as deputy chief of staff, Castro said.

“Frances has a wealth of management experience, including serving as an assistant city manager for the City of San Antonio prior to joining my mayoral staff in 2009,” Castro said. “A member of the San Antonio Women’s Hall of Fame, Frances has excelled in her time as a senior policy adviser at HUD where she has guided a number of projects to conclusion and has most recently led the place-based efforts in Ferguson and Baltimore.”

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