Erica Lira Castro has been married to Julian Castro since 2007. He formerly served as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama and his twin brother Joaquin is currently representing Texas in Congress.
Julian Castro announced on January 12, 2019, that he is running for president in 2020. You can watch his full speech in the video embedded below.
A run for the presidency puts a candidate’s entire family into the spotlight, especially the spouse. But 40-year-old Erica Lira Castro appears accustomed to the attention. Her husband also previously served as the mayor of San Antonio, where the family still lives. Older Twitter posts indicate Lira Castro has always been very supportive of Julian’s political ambitions.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Erica Lira Castro Was a First Generation College Graduate & is a San Antonio Native
Erica Lira Castro, like her husband, is a Texas native. She was raised in San Antonio and according to her Facebook page, attended Harlandale High School. Her father worked as a mechanic and her mother was a secretary.
Lira Castro was the first person in her family to graduate from college, according to her bio on the U.S. Department of Education website. She stayed close to home for college, attending the University of Texas at San Antonio and majoring in English.
From there, she earned a master’s degree in educational leadership.
Erica Lira met Julian Castro when she was a college student in 1999. He was a law student at Harvard and was home for the summer break. In an Instagram post on August 24, 2018, he wrote to her, “”Happy Birthday to Erica, my amazing wife and a wonderful mother to Carina and Cristián. She’s more beautiful today than when I met her almost twenty years ago.”
2. Erica Lira Castro Worked as an Elemetary School Teacher & is an Education Consultant
Erica Lira Castro became an elementary school teacher in San Antonio after college. She taught math for at least 12 years.
According to the Department of Education, she mentored pre-service teachers at the university level in addition to job teaching children. Lira Castro adds on her bio that she also “dedicates as much of her time as her schedule permits to volunteering and giving back to her community.”
Lira Castro now works as an education consultant, according to the Dallas Morning News.
She may influence her husband when it comes to education measures. As mayor of Sam Antonio in 2012, Julian Castro promoted a ballot initiative to increase funding for pre-kindergarten services. The measure passed.
3. Lira Castro Says She Has Always Been Committed to Having a Successful Career
Erica Lira Castro revealed in a 2009 interview that she decided she wanted to become a teacher when she was still a child. She explained to the San Antonio Express-News that she used to pretend to teach her three brothers.
The newspaper compared Lira Castro to political spouses from generations past, writing that it used to be abnormal for a politician’s wife to have a career or be outspoken. Lira Castro fits a new mold.
She told the newspaper, “I don’t think I’m unlike other women of my generation. I want a marriage, children, my own career and a chance to participate in public service. I think we can have it all.”
4. Erica Lira Castro Teamed Up With Jill Biden in 2015 to Encourage More Hispanic Americans to Become Teachers
According to the Census Bureau, Hispanic students account for nearly 23 percent of students in the United States. By comparison, less than 8 percent of the nation’s teachers are Hispanic, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
In 2015, Erica Lira Castro teamed up with then-Second Lady Jill Biden to encourage more Hispanic Americans to pursue careers as educators. They released a video to promote #LatinosTeach, a digital campaign launched by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
Lira Castro said in the video, “As a teacher, I have seen the tremendous effect we can have on our students by showing them that we believe in them and we expect great things from them. They rise to the occassion and succeeed… as our nation’s Hispanic student population grows, there’s an increasing need for more teachers who are Hispanic, and for more teachers who understand Hispanic culture and communities.”
5. Erica Lira & Julian Castro Have Been Married Since 2007 & Have Two Children
Erica Lira and Julian Castro tied the knot on July 1, 2007. He marked their 11th wedding anniversary with a celebratory Instagram post.
The couple has two children, Carina Victoria and Cristian Julián Castro. Carina was born in 2009 and her little brother followed in 2014.
Carina stole the spotlight in 2012 when her father gave the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention. As Julian Castro spoke about his daughter’s first day of pre-school, the camera focused on Carina, who was just 3 years old at the time. She flipped her hair back and the Internet fell in love with the adorable little girl. In the video embedded above, the moment happens at 1:50.