Former U.S. HUD Secretary Julián Castro visited Reno Sunday to lead a series of voter mobilization efforts. With that came a full day of campaigning with local Democratic candidates throughout the Truckee Meadows.
Castro, who was part of the large field of presidential candidates early in the 2020 election race, threw his support behind former Vice President Joe Biden in June and has been working to mobilize Latino voters leading up to Election Day.
Castro’s day began at the Sun Valley Neighborhood Center with Nevada Assembly members Teresa Benitez-Thompson (D) and Wendy Jauregui-Jackins (D), who are both running for office. In the chilly morning air, the trio worked to energize volunteers for the morning’s activity — a “lit drop” where volunteers deliver campaign material to voters, often door-to-door.
“What the Trump campaign is doing is looking for these opportunities in different places that are unexpected,” Castro said. “Don’t take anything for granted. That’s what they did last time. That’s what they’re trying to find and do this time. We know that Democrats are coming out right now. Democrats are ahead in Washoe County. Democrats won Washoe County in 2018 and you can do it again.”
Benitez-Thompson and Jauregui-Jackins pressed the case of why wins for them, and others on the Democratic ticket, were important for Nevadans. Volunteers were also given instruction on how to conduct the lit drop with social distancing guidelines in mind–a new element of political campaigning in the era of COVID-19.
This Is Reno had a chance to catch up with Benitez-Thompson ahead of the weekend’s events to talk about early voting.
“People care, people are engaged and that’s a good sign,” she said of high turnout during early voting. “We made a concerted effort at the legislature last term to make voting as easily as possible. It’s your right to vote. It should not be arduous to vote. It should not be difficult to vote. If you’re a citizen you’ve got this right…We’ve tried to give as much choice back to the people as possible,” she added.
A “Latinos con Biden Car Caravan” at the Sparks Marina was Castro’s second event of the day. He talked about President Trump’s immigration policies, which were recently revealed to have left 545 children without their parents. He was joined by Reno City Councilmember Oscar Delgado, up for reelection, who spoke briefly with This Is Reno.
The caravan led to the Sparks Public Library where Castro spoke to the press on why Nevada is important during this election.
“Nevada is critical to Joe Biden’s path to victory,” Castro said. “The Biden campaign is not taking Nevada for granted at all. This state, over the last several years, has been fairly Democratic, but we can’t take it for granted.”
At the end of the day, Castro said the people he spoke with as he traveled through the Truckee Meadows told him they’d had enough of the divisiveness of politics. He also said many people he’d met with keyed in on his former role as the housing secretary to talk about the need for affordable housing in the area.
“Everybody should have a safe, decent, affordable place to live,” he said. “Housing is important not only because it provides shelter, but because if you have a good, safe, affordable place to live that means you’re probably going to have a better educational experience. So much revolves around the place that you live. That’s why we need to make sure people have a good place to live.”
Biden has a plan for that, and many other things, he said.
Don Dike-Anukam is a Reno native attending college in northern Nevada. He has been involved in activist politics for 15 years on and off, and has been involved in multiple campaigns in multiple positions in that time. He also was a college radio political, news, and talk-show host covering a range of stories from hostage standoffs, fires, interviews, and public speeches.