SAN ANTONIO -- Julián Castro announced Saturday morning he is officially seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020.
The 44-year-old made the announcement at Plaza Guadalupe on San Antonio's West Side. Castro and his twin brother, Congressman Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), went to middle school just blocks from the historic plaza that hosted Pope John Paul II in 1987 and then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008.
“When my grandmother got here almost a hundred years ago, I’m sure she never could have imagined that just two generations later, one of her grandsons would be serving as a member of the United States Congress and the other would be standing with you here today to say these words: I am a candidate for President of the United States of America," Castro said. He immediately repeated those remarks in Spanish.
Castro is expected to base his campaign in San Antonio where he served as mayor before joining President Barack Obama's cabinet as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Joaquin will serve as the campaign's chairman and Maya Rupert, who was Castro's senior adviser at HUD, will be the campaign manager.
Julián and Joaquin arrived at Plaza Guadalupe on VIA bus number 68 - the same route they took from their home to school, he said.
"There are no front-runners born here, but I've always believed that with big dreams and hard work, anything is possible," Castro said alluding to the dozen other candidates who are expected to jump in the race.
Castro rose to national prominence in 2012 when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.
" I’m running for president because it’s time for new leadership. Because it’s time for new energy. And it’s time for a new commitment to make sure that the opportunities I’ve had are available for every American," Castro said.
Rosie Castro said she was "very proud" and said her message to other Democrats is "don't ever underestimate Julián Castro."
Asked if former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke should run, Rosie offered a quick "no" but said ultimately it's up to O'Rourke.
Castro visited Iowa and Nevada this week ahead of his announcement. He's expected to visit New Hampshire in the coming days. His first trip as a candidate will be to Puerto Rico, where he will deliver an address to the Latino Victory Fund and visit local residents still struggling with ongoing hurricane recovery efforts.
Former Maryland congressman John Delaney and Richard Ojeda, a senator in the West Virginia statehouse, have already announced their presidential campaigns. Three-term Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard told CNN's Van Jones she will run for president and will make a formal announcement in the next week.
At least a dozen more candidates are expected to announce their bid for the White House in the coming months.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is also expected to make his decision about a third presidential run in the early part of 2019. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts formed an exploratory committee and began traveling to the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York has begun building out her eventual campaign staff hiring a campaign manager, director and two top communication aides. Senators Kamala Harris of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are all expected to announce their decision soon.
The Democratic National Committee announced it will hold 12 primary debates beginning in June. A site for the nominating convention has yet to be announced but Houston, Milwaukee and the Miami-area are the three finalists.