After being approved for nomination, Julian Castro, Mayor of San Antonio, has been approved to lead the U.S. Department of the Housing & Urban Development (HUD) as Secretary under President Obama. He was approved by the U.S. Senate by a bipartisan vote of 71-26. The 39-year-old Castro was mentioned as a potential nominee for the HUD slot back in mid-May, even amid concerns over his history with pro-Latino political groups, while many pundits are buzzing about Castro as a potential 2016 vice presidential pick. Multiple organizations have been quick to applaud the President’s nominee: David H. Stevens, president and chief executive officer of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), said, "MBA commends the U.S. Senate for confirming Julian Castro to be the next Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. With Castro becoming the next HUD Secretary, and Shaun Donovan soon to become the new Director of OMB, the Administration will be well-positioned to address the important housing policy issues. We look forward to working with both men to help ease access to credit for qualified borrowers and accelerate the housing recovery." "NAHB applauds the Senate confirmation of Julián Castro as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development,” said Kevin Kelly, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “NAHB looks forward to working with Secretary Castro to promote policies that will strengthen the nation's housing recovery and ensure a reliable and adequate flow of affordable credit for single-family and multifamily housing." “The National Association of Realtors (NAR) commends the U.S. Senate today for approving the nomination of San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to serve as the Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Mayor Castro’s vision for strong communities and affordable housing is the right fit for HUD, which has helped make the dream of homeownership a reality for millions of Americans,” said Steve Brown, president of NAR. “We are encouraged by his record of achievements to revitalize the city center in San Antonio and his commitment to public engagement and collaboration. We look forward to working with Mayor Castro as he transitions into his new role as HUD secretary.” “With a bipartisan confirmation now beyond him, Mayor Julian Castro now takes the reigns of a cabinet agency that has some big challenges. Reorganization efforts have been stymied by key members of his own party, the Section 8 account is cannibalizing the rest of the HUD budget, the major block grant programs – CDBG and HOME – have had funding cut under the President’s own budget, there is almost no new money for new affordable housing production, and the signature pilot program to convert public housing to Section 8 is dramatically oversubscribed," said Rick Lazio, former U.S. Representative from New York, and current leader of law firm Jones Walker’s affordable housing and housing finance practice. "The Department is becoming a vehicle for pass through funding from three or four programs. Is that enough to justify a cabinet-level agency? Should the HUD mission be refreshed? These are the key challenges facing the new HUD Secretary.” Whether or not Castro will be a strong leader once he begins his duties at HUD remains to be seen, though many are hopeful the once-dubbed “second coming of Obama” can do a good job. "Julian is a proven leader, a champion for safe, affordable housing and strong, sustainable neighborhoods," said President Obama in a statement. "I know that together with the dedicated professionals at HUD, Julián will help build on the progress we’ve made battling back from the Great Recession—rebuilding our housing market, reducing homelessness among veterans, and connecting neighborhoods with good schools and good jobs that help our citizens succeed. Julian has lived the American Dream in his own life, and I’m confident he will help Americans across our country seize their own piece of that dream for themselves and their children."