By SUSAN DROMEY HEETER, Decoding the Vibe
When Presidential Candidate Julian Castro arrived at Dover’s packed Flight Cafe Monday night wearing his crisp blue suit, everyone stood.
No one clapped. No one shouted. People simply watched as Castro shook hands, worked the room and eventually arrived to the mic where he gave a compelling speech about why he should be #46.
The immediate vibe? This guy is class, this guy is smart, this guy is funny, this guy is a politician.
And the vibe of the room? Young, diverse, curious, hopeful. I sat next to a writer from Newsweek Japan. We’d both arrived early enough to command the couch directly in front. It pays to be prompt.
Castro is young, energetic and exudes a positivity and kindness. I liked him. He’s open, is the grandson of Mexican immigrants and spoke in specifics – mentioning his visit to the homeless population beneath the Las Vegas strip, his experiences as mayor of San Antonio, the phone call he received from Barack Obama asking him to be Secretary of Housing.
“I’d just been through the drive-thru and saw a call from a ‘private’ number – it was April 16th.” The awe of receiving a call from a president still resonated as Castro remarked, “Always answer those calls from a private number.”
When I shook Castro’s hand, I thanked him for coming to support the Dover Democrats and, as I was with my ever-present amigo, John O’Mahoney, I shared we were both Spanish teachers. The conversation continued in Spanish and the vibe from Castro was inclusivity in all arenas: economic, social, LGBTQ.
Again, his vibe is kindness, intelligence; and as he was the public school product of San Antonio with degrees from Stanford and Harvard, he’s the guy who obviously does his homework.
As with any stump speech, there are questions and selfies that follow. Waiting allowed me to meet Monica Ramirez and her husband, Oscar Gonzales. My colleague Susan Mann was with us and we all chatted in Spanish – Castro invited a bit of diversity to his event here in New Hampshire which created an interesting and unique vibe in a state not known for diversity. I enjoyed the camaraderie Castro encouraged. The conversations after were as interesting as his speech.
Good energy, intelligence, spirit. The vibe of Castro reminds me of one of my favorite Spanish words: esperar. It means both to wait and to hope.
Keep posted as I continue to Decode the Vibe of presidential candidates here in New Hampshire. When Castro remarked what he hopes to say to the guy in the office should he be elected, as Trump walks with Melania toward the awaiting helicopter, “Adios.” Espero.
Susan Dromey Heeter is a writer from Dover who recently let her hair go au natural white. Writing has been her passion since her English majoring days at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Dromey Heeter has lived in The Netherlands, Alaska and currently basks in all things New England, including the frigid winters. An avid swimmer, Dromey Heeter’s great passion is to bring back body surfing as most children have no idea how to ride waves without ridiculous boogie boards.
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