John Castillo, a member of the Houston City Council from 1996 to 2000, has passed away, reports the Houston Chronicle. Castillo, in addition to his duties as an elected official, was one of the most prominent Hispanic political activists in the City. His brother-in-law, Leonel Castillo, served as City Controller in the 1970s and later as the Director of the INS, both positions that John Castillo was instrumental in obtaining for him.
For every election that his brother-in-law or Ben Reyes won early on, advancing the cause of his community, Castillo was every bit as important from behind the scenes. “Leonel was the heart and soul of the Latino political movement, and John was the brains,” Reyes said about his mentor. Similarly conciliatory in his comments was Marc Campos, a local political consultant. “Back in the ’70s, we didn’t really have mentors. We were all learning back then. He was probably the first real numbers guy we had,” Campos said.