The first Latino ever tapped for the high-profile primetime address, 37-year-old Castro is the youngest mayor of a top-50 American city. Serving a second term after a 2011 reelection with 82.9 percent of the vote, the Stanford and Harvard Law graduate’s biography lists a number of accolades that make it clear he’s an up-and-comer. He made Time magazine’s list of “40 under 40,” and his life story is the embodiment of what we think of as the striving American. The son of a single mother, Castro and his twin brother, Joaquin, who also has a stellar résumé and is running for Congress in Texas, strike the same chords that Barack Obama did when he was selected to keynote the Democratic convention in 2004—that America is a land of opportunity where merit and hard work are rewarded.

While most national politicos had never heard of him before Tuesday, Castro has been a co-chair of the Obama campaign, and a campaign aide confirms he has been “a very effective surrogate on the stump.” As mayor, he has put into practice some of President Obama’s most cherished ideals by pressing a “new energy economy” and making educational attainment a priority. The Café College he established is a one-stop center to help students prepare for college.