Mar 3, 2023 - Politics

Rosie Castro appointed to San Antonio City Council

Rosie Castro, San Antonio civil rights activist, pictured in 2019. City Council yesterday appointed her to temporarily represent District 7. Photo: Callaghan O'Hare for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rosie Castro, longtime civil rights activist and mother of Julián and Joaquin Castro, took her seat in City Council chambers on Thursday, decades after her work to transform the face of local politics.

Driving the news: City Council voted 10-0 Thursday to confirm Castro, 75, as temporary District 7 council member. They selected her from a pool of four candidates, whom the council interviewed on Wednesday.

Catch up fast: Ana Sandoval resigned as District 7 council member at the end of January, in her third term. She took a job with the University Health System.

  • She left to care for family and for better pay. She gave birth to a baby girl last year.

Of note: Castro did not file to run for District 7 in the upcoming May election, so she will only hold the seat for a few months. That made her an attractive choice for council members who don't want to influence the election through an appointment.

What they're saying: Castro said she plans to continue Sandoval's work, with a particular focus on infrastructure and government transparency.

  • "I also want to thank Ana Sandoval for her service," Castro said. "I knew she cared and she did all she could to make the district better. I hope to follow in her footsteps."
  • Julián Castro, former mayor and U.S. housing secretary, returned to council chambers to support his mother's appointment.
  • "This moment for my mother is in some ways 52 years in the making, because she ran first for City Council in 1971," Julián Castro said.
  • "This is your moment," District 3 Council member Phyllis Viagran said. "You had a son that served on this dais, you had a son that currently serves, but now this is going to be you — all you."

Flashback: Castro is known for her push to diversify local political representation. Multiple council members said they wouldn't hold office today if it weren't for her.

  • San Antonio used to elect all council members at-large instead of from geographic districts. That led to a City Council dominated by white members.
  • Castro was involved with the Committee for Barrio Betterment, a group that backed candidates for council aiming to bring more equal representation.
  • "There are people that have suffered a great deal to make sure we all could have a place at the table," Castro told reporters.

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