RIO HONDO – United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will be welcomed with open arms to the Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting on Saturday, April 23.

Castro, a former mayor of San Antonio and appointed the youngest member of President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, will be th guest speaker at the meeting, which will be held at noon at the Rio Hondo Municipal Center.

“We are privileged he is going to give us his time,” said Tony Gutierrez, board chairman of the Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “He’s our friend and he’s coming for us.”

Gutierrez, who announced the guest earlier today, said Castro will be on hand for about an hour and will speak. The possible topics include growing small cities, potential water shortages or anything that pertains to the communities in the lower Valley.

“This will be tremendous for us,” Gutierrez said.

Castro, who was born in San Antonio, was a two-term mayor of San Antonio until he was asked to serve in 2014 on the president’s cabinet. he is considered a fast-rising Latino politician and the Washington Post wrote a recent story about him suggesting he could be on the short list as a potential vice presidential running mate for Hillary Clinton.

He gained national attention in 2012 when he delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

The Lower Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce includes Lyford, Raymondville, Los Indios, Combes, Santa Rosa, Los Fresnos, Rio Hondo and Primera. The organization has about 60 to 70 members right now and it is growing all the time, just in its second year in existence. Its goal is to help the smaller cities that likely don’t have Chamber of Commerce organizations.

“We haven’t even reached two years yet,” Gutierrez said.

The cost will be $20 per ticket or $160 for a table of eight. Call (956) 536-1448 to obtain seats to attend the event.