MINNEAPOLIS -- HUD Secretary Julian Castro told about 50 community and DFL leaders here Wednesday that the swelling number of Latino voters nationally can decide elections if they just get to the polls.

"Growing up in Texas, I expected it (Latino activism),  but you see more and more the Latino community growing in places like Georgia and Alabama and North Carolina and Minnesota," he said, to cheers and laughs. "Unfortunately we know that too often times in our community that we don't vote."

He noted in the 2012 election, about 45 percent of eligible Latino voters turned out -- a full 20 points lower than whites and African-Americans.

Castro was in town doing political events around the national Democratic National Committee meeting, which kicks off this weekend. The gathering will draw presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton, former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Castro is a 40-year-old rising star within Democratic politics and is oft whispered to be a veep hopeful for the Democratic ticket next year.

Above: HUD Secretary Julian Castro greets Latino voters in south Minneapolis on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Photo: Allison Sherry, Star Tribune