In Cabinet shuffle, Obama taps Castro

President Obama plans to nominate Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan as the next director of the Office of Management and Budget, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro as his replacement during an event Friday afternoon at the White House, according to a White House official.

The Cabinet reshuffling, which has been anticipated for nearly a week, would elevate Castro, a three-term mayor and rising star in the Democratic Party, to the national stage. It will also afford a new challenge to Donovan, a longtime Obama confidant who was tasked with overseeing the federal Hurricane Sandy relief program.

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“The president is thrilled that Secretary Donovan will take on this next role and believes that Mayor Castro is the right person to build on his critical work at HUD based on his work in San Antonio,” the White House official said.

Rumors of Castro’s nomination have led to widespread speculation that the San Antonio mayor could have his sights on higher ambitions. 

Castro was chosen by Obama to give the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the same slot the president himself used in 2004 to earn national recognition. Castro will be reunited in Washington with his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), a first-term congressman representing San Antonio. 

While HUD secretary is not among the more visible Cabinet posts, it has proven a political launching pad in the past. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo held the job in the Clinton administration before returning to the New York to run for the governor’s mansion. And Castro, among the highest-profile Hispanic Democrats, is considered a top contender for the party’s vice presidential nomination in 2016.

The White House said Castro had put the city and its citizens “on a new trajectory” during his time at its helm.

“He has been a leader among mayors in terms of implementing housing and economic development programs and under his leadership San Antonio has been highly successful at lifting educational attainment and spurring job creation … The President is excited about the Mayor bringing his practical, on-the-ground success to scale at the Federal level,” the official said.

Donovan, meanwhile, will replace Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who has been nominated to be the new secretary of Health and Human Services.

A former commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Donvoan is among the few original Obama appointees remaining in his Cabinet.

The White House official hailed his “track record of using data to make good decisions and drive results” and described him as a “trusted adviser to the president.”

“While at HUD, Donovan made critical investments to speed economic growth, while also offering new savings proposals and ensuring fiscal responsibility,” the official said.