Like most of his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, Julian Castro’s looking for a moment to stand out.
And the former San Antonio, Texas mayor — who later served as Housing and Urban Development secretary during President Barack Obama’s second term — will have another chance to break through as he headlines a Fox News town hall in Phoenix Thursday night.
“Special Report” host Bret Baier and “The Story” host Martha MacCallum will moderate the one-hour event live starting at 6:30 p.m. ET.
“I think in a 23-candidate field, any opportunity that you have on national television in a highlighted way is positive,” Castro said in an interview.
The candidate said he’s looking forward to talking about issues ranging from immigration to health care to the economy.
Another topic he may address is his new plan to overhaul policing in the U.S.
“My plan is a reflection of a system that’s broken. An epidemic of mistreatment, particularly of young black men in our country,” he said.
Castro is among a large pack of candidates averaging just around 1 percent in the latest national and early primary and caucus state polls.
He’s far behind former Vice President Joe Biden, the clear front-runner right now in the Democratic nomination race, as well as Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Ahead of the first round of official primary debates, Castro is the latest 2020 Democratic White House hopeful to take part in a Fox News town hall, following Sanders, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Buttigieg, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
He sees an opportunity.
“I said at the beginning of my campaign that I want to be a president for all Americans. And If I want to be a president for all Americans, I’m going to campaign in front of all Americans. So, I see this as an opportunity to reach an audience that I may not always get in front of.”
“A lot of people in the audience watching may see things differently than me. But it’s important for me to speak to them as well because one of the things that’s been sorely missing over the last couple of years has been a president who’s been willing to engage the other side. And this is the beginning of the conversation for me,” Castro explained
And targeting the White House, he contrasted his policing plan with the current administration’s approach. “The Trump Administration has completely ignored this problem. At the same time, this is a problem that we’ve had for many, many years. It’s not a new problem. And in the Obama administration, we were making progress. We were addressing it, holding communities like Chicago more accountable for the way they did their policing,” he said.
Castro said that his plan “is about making sure that we hold police departments and police officers accountable for misconduct, that we end over-aggressive policing and that we work to try and mend the divide that too often exists between the police and certain communities.”