Representing La Gente
by Ryan Almodovar
Before we jump into things, allow me to introduce this series. Once a month, I’ll be profiling a different Latino politician in the hopes of better educating our readers about the movers and shakers who are representing us not just as citizens, but as America’s fastest growing population. Over the coming months, I’ll be profiling politicians from both sides of the aisle, as to give a fair and balanced view of the issues they are representing. From time to time, and as events warrant, I’ll cover some of the issues that the politicians I profile may be involved in.
This month, I’ll be profiling Congressman Charles Gonzalez (D) of Texas’ 20th district. Born on May 5, 1945, Gonzalez was born into a political legacy set by his father, former Congressman Henry Gonzalez. After earning his juris doctor degree from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, he served in the Texas Air National Guard. He worked his way through the municipal court system as a judge before easily winning the vote and replacing his father in 1999. As father and son, they have presided over the 20th district, which represents the greater San Antonio area for 48 consecutive years.
Since that time, he has established himself within Congress as a member of the New Democrat Coalition. This coalition is a Congressional Member Organization of Democrats within Congress that has identified itself as moderate and pro-growth, essentially meaning that it’s the largest active group of Democrats that have declared themselves as ‘moderate.’ Though largely considered to be ‘left of center,’ Charles Gonzalez is perhaps most well noted for being one of the first Congressmen to support President Barack Obama during his 2008 campaign, citing that then-Senator Obama, “has a wider audience. He has the greater potential to engage a greater number of people.”
Keeping in step with his moderate style of politics, Gonzalez has kept a largely favorable stance in the public eye, winning re-elections either unopposed or with a wide majority of the vote (63%) in 2004. Though he has been in Congress for only a short period of time, Gonzalez is a vital member in such committee assignments including the Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Subcommittee on Elections, and the Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy.
Gonzalez is a member of the LGBT Caucus, and is currently serving as the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). This caucus, first organized in 1976, serves to work for the best interest of Hispanic citizens within the United States. In step with this, the Congressman has openly supported immigration reform, denouncing the now infamous Arizona SB 1070 immigration bill, citing that, “This law does not provide law enforcement with any new tools to combat crime, but instead undermines community trust and cooperation to solve crimes and deter true criminal behavior.” Gonzalez has long been a proponent of comprehensive reform, promoting the idea of punishing employers who abuse laborers and providing a better path to citizenship for undocumented residents.
Contributor, Ryan Almodovar
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.