SAN ANTONIO – Amid a standing ovation Thursday morning, the San Antonio City Council confirmed the civil rights activist and mother of the city’s two most recognizable political figures, Maria del Rosario “Rosie” Castro, as the interim council member for District 7.
A day after choosing Castro as the lone finalist to temporarily fill Ana Sandoval’s vacated seat, the council voted 10-0 to confirm her to the spot. Castro was immediately sworn in and will finish out the remaining three months of Sandoval’s unexpired term.
“I promise I will be a team-builder and a team person with you. And if we differ, that it will be done in a respectful way,” Castro said during her remarks ahead of the vote.
Castro is not one of the five candidates running in the May 6 election. So a new council member will begin a two-year term beginning in June.
She is the mother of Julian Castro, a former San Antonio mayor and cabinet member of the Obama administration, and U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro.
Joaquin Castro recently underwent surgery to remove cancerous tumors from his gastrointestinal tract and was not present, though Julián Castro was. He told council members that “this moment for my mother is in some ways 52 years in the making.”
Rosie Castro ran unsuccessfully for city council position in 1971, when she said there was lacking representation for the city’s East, South, and West sides under the at-large council member system used then.
Several council members thanked Castro for helping to pave the way for better representation.
“Without that work you did with your compadres back then, I would not be here. But for that work, a lot of the people on this dais would be here,” said District 6 Councilwoman Melissa Cabello Havrda.
Castro’s predecessor, Ana Sandoval, left the District 7 council seat in late January because of family obligations and financial reasons.
Castro has said her priorities would include government transparency, infrastructure, and ensuring plans made under Sandoval are continued. She said also wants to encourage young people to vote.
With the early stages of the city budget process beginning in April, Castro said she planned to get as much input as she could from residents.
David Avila, a site coordinator for a veterans nonprofit; Delia Guajardo, a retired school secretary who has been involved with numerous community groups; and Sean Murphy, an armorer and former county commissioner in Florida, also applied for the seat.