Born on the Cinco de Mayo, 1945, to Henry and Bertha Gonzalez in San Antonio, Texas. The 3rd of eight children, he attended local schools and graduated from Thomas A. Edison High School, attended San Antonio College, received a B.A. degree in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and attained a Juris Doctorate from St. Mary’s University School of Law.
From 1972 to 1982, he practiced law and in 1982 was elected Judge of the County Court at Law Number Two and served until 1987. From 1987 to 1988 he was Of Counsel with the Law Firm of Pasqual and Pozza. In 1988, he was elected Judge of the 57th Judicial District Court and served until 1997. From 1997 to 1998, he was Of Counsel with the Law Offices of Crofts, Callaway and Jefferson.
During his judicial career, he was voted one of the highest ranked judges in Bexar County. While Judge of the County Court at Law Number Two, he instituted numerous reforms which included the creation of a separate civil docket system lauded by civil law practitioners and the business community, a Domestic Violence docket, worked to make Municipal Courts tribunals of record and sponsored rules that placed prohibitions on the use of the county courtrooms and personnel for personal gain.
As Judge of the 57th Judicial District Court, he instituted the Alternative Dispute Resolution System which continues to be utilized and is regarded as one of the most successful ADR models. He served on State Bar Committees on Alternative Dispute Resolution and was a featured presenter at Advanced Legal Education Courses sponsored by the State Bar of Texas. He also served as President of the San Antonio Bar Association and President of the William Sessions inn of Court.
In 1998, he sought to succeed his father as U.S. Representative from the 20th District of Texas. Elected in 1998, he served until January 3, 2013. He joined his father in representing the 20th Congressional District for a combined total of 51 years. During his seven terms in Congress, he served on the Committees on Financial Services, Small Business, Homeland Security, House Administration, Judiciary and Energy and Commerce. He chaired the Task Force to determine the winner of the contested Florida Congressional District 13 election. Service also included positions on ad hoc committees dealing with election reform, voting rights, campaign finance reform and the census. From 2011 to 2012, he was Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus as well as Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. He is currently a member of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform.
During his judicial and congressional careers, he has been the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his commitment and work in achieving excellence in the legal profession and seeking public policies in furtherance of diversifying our nation’s energy sources, increasing access to quality health care, improving our educational system and fostering better relations with Mexico.
He is married to the former Linda Heemer and has a son Leo from his previous marriage.