CHCI Chair Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez Biography
Rep. Charles A. Gonzalez
Charles A. Gonzalez is currently in his seventh term in the United States Congress as the Representative from the 20th Congressional District of Texas, which includes the City of San Antonio. In the 112th Congress, he serves on the House Committees on Energy and Commerce and House Administration. He is the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and is also a member of the New Democrats Coalition.
As a Freshman in the 106th Congress, Congressman Gonzalez was elected Vice President of his class. Since 1999, Congressman Gonzalez has served as a Texas Regional Whip for the Democratic Caucus and as Chair of the Hispanic Caucus Civil Rights Task Force.
It was through the Civil Rights Task Force that Congressman Gonzalez took a lead role in the 2000 decennial census, encouraging all Americans to complete and return their census forms. Recognizing his leadership on the census for the Hispanic Caucus, the House Democratic Leadership selected Congressman Gonzalez to also Co-Chair the Democratic Caucus Census Task Force. As the current Vice-Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, he will continue to be a leader on the issue as the 2010 decennial census approaches.
After the 2000 presidential election, the Congressman was appointed to Co-Chair the Democratic Caucus Special Committee on Election Reform and the Democratic National Committee's Voting Rights Institute, an initiative to ensure that all local, state and federal elections are conducted in compliance with civil rights laws, voting rights laws, and election laws.
In the 107th Congress, Congressman Gonzalez developed and was selected to Chair the Hispanic Judiciary Initiative for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. The Congressman developed this program so that the CHC could work to identify and recommend qualified Hispanic candidates to fill federal court vacancies, thus ensuring that the Judicial branch more accurately reflects the communities that it serves. In addition, Congressman Gonzalez previously served on the Judiciary Committee, Select Committee on Homeland Security and the House Financial Services Committee
As a Member of several Congressional Task Forces, including Education, Defense, Financial Services, Business and Economic Development, and Telecommunications, as well as the 21st Century Health Care Caucus, The High Speed Rail Caucus, the Homeland Security Caucus, the Port Security Caucus, the Air Force Caucus, the Infrastructure and Transportation Caucus and the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus, Congressman Gonzalez is better able to focus his efforts on the issues that matter most to his constituents in San Antonio.
Charles Gonzalez is a San Antonio native. A graduate of Thomas A. Edison High School in San Antonio, Gonzalez received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and then received a Juris Doctorate degree from St. Mary's School of Law in San Antonio.
After spending one year as a 5th grade teacher at Kindred Elementary in the South San Antonio Independent School District, and before being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, Charlie Gonzalez served most of his career in the legal field. He was a lawyer in private practice from 1972 to 1982, a Municipal Court Judge, and an elected County Court at Law Judge from 1983 until 1987. He then served as an elected District Judge from 1989 to 1997.
As a sitting judge, Gonzalez was recognized as one of the highest rated trial judges. Credited with introducing the latest technological advances into the courtroom and for streamlining court dockets, Judge Gonzalez acknowledged the problematic backlog of domestic violence cases and proposed a system of courts to exclusively handle domestic violence cases. A recognized ardent mediator, Judge Gonzalez was also instrumental in further streamlining the dockets by utilizing mediation as an alternative to costly litigation. In the fall of 1997, Gonzalez resigned his seat on the bench to seek the office of United States Congressman for the 20th district of Texas.
During his career, Charles Gonzalez has been involved in many civic activities in San Antonio. He has served on the boards of the Arthritis Foundation, Literacy Council, YMCA Metroboard, Camp Fire Girls, March of Dimes, and Easter Seals. He also assumed leadership roles in local, state, and national organizations that promote professionalism and adherence to high ethical standards by members of the legal profession. Charles A. Gonzalez is one of eight children of the late Congressman Henry B. Gonzalez and Bertha Gonzalez. His father served as United States Congressman representing the 20th District from 1961-1998. He has one son, Leo Gonzalez.