It’s hard to imagine a mayor who better reflects the hopes of San Antonio than 37-year-old political wunderkind Julián Castro. A graduate of both Stanford and Harvard, Castro became the youngest city councilman in San Antonio history in 2001, at the age of 26, and has been one of the youngest mayors in the country since he was first elected, in 2009. His office at city hall bears the dated hallmarks of his predecessors: wood-paneled walls, fluorescent lights, and the worn desk of Mayor Maury Maverick Sr., who was elected in 1939. “It’s very Jimmy Carter,” says Castro of the decor. With a few shoves, he maneuvers his rolling leather chair back and forth between his computer, desk, and office refrigerator, where he stores his ration of Diet Snapples. “I drink about four of them a day,” says the married father of one, who is currently at work on a November ballot initiative to expand prekindergarten access to more of the city’s children.

ABOUT THE ITEMS in julián castro’s office

•  When I got elected, this was the first thing that I put in this office. My mom, Rosie Castro, was 23 when she ran for the San Antonio City Council on a slate called the Committee for Barrio Betterment. The guy to the right of my mom is my brother’s godfather, and the guy below her is my godfather. 

•  These are Fiesta medals. The Fiesta commission gives city council members and the mayor sashes to put the medals on, and I have one for each year I’ve been mayor. If I get to serve for eight years, my goal is to go to Fiesta with all my sashes and look like a Fiesta Rambo.

•  Diet Snapple Lemon Tea is my vice these days. When my twin brother, Joaquin, and I were going to Jefferson High School, we’d go to the vending machine, pop two quarters in, and get Cima Red sodas to go with our glazed doughnuts for breakfast.

•  This outlines SA2020, the community’s vision for San Antonio’s future over the next decade. There are goals spread across eleven different areas, from economic competitiveness to health and wellness, which we aim to meet by September 25, 2020.

•  Joaquin and I graduated from high school, college, and law school together. He’s a state representative and is now running for Congress. This picture was taken the day we graduated from Harvard Law, in 2000. 

•  My wife, Erica, has been a teacher for ten years in one of San Antonio’s public school districts. My daughter, Carina, is now three. It’s a lot of fun having a toddler. 

•  I inherited this remote for the door. If you click it, it demagnetizes the door and closes it automatically.

•  San Antonio has the largest joint-basing operation in the Department of Defense. We’re known as Military City, USA. Whenever I visit one of the installations or meet with a visiting military official, they often give me one of these coins. I probably have twenty or so.