Vicente Gonzalez (politician)

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Vicente Gonzalez
Vicente Gonzalez 115th congress photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 15th district
Assumed office
January 3, 2017
Preceded byRubén Hinojosa
Personal details
Born (1967-09-04) September 4, 1967 (age 55)
Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
SpouseLorena Saenz
EducationDel Mar College
Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University (BA)
Texas Wesleyan University (JD)
WebsiteHouse website

Vicente Gonzalez Jr.[1] (/vɪˈsɛnt/; born September 4, 1967) is an American lawyer and politician serving as the United States representative for Texas's 15th congressional district since 2017.[2] He is a member of the Democratic Party. His district includes a narrow ribbon of South Texas stretching from San Antonio's outer suburbs to the Rio Grande Valley, and includes Brooks, Duval, Guadalupe, Jim Hogg, Karnes, and Live Oak counties, and parts of Hidalgo and Wilson counties.[3]

Early life[edit]

Gonzalez was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, in 1967.[4] He grew up in a working-class family, often working odd jobs that displayed entrepreneurial skills. He went to Roman Catholic School in Corpus Christi for part of his childhood. In 11th grade, he dropped out of high school. He returned to school through a G.E.D. and enrolled at Del Mar Junior College, where he received an associate degree in banking and finance.[5][6] In 1992, Gonzalez earned his Bachelor of Science in aviation business administration from the Embry–Riddle Aeronautical University on the Corpus Christi Naval Air Station. In 1996, he graduated from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law (now the Texas A&M University School of Law) with a Juris Doctor.

Gonzalez founded his law firm, V. Gonzalez & Associates, in 1997. He recovered tens of millions of dollars for plaintiffs nationwide and was nominated to the "Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum". He is a member of Texas's and New York's bar associations.[7] He is also licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Elections[edit]

2016[edit]

As a newcomer to politics, Gonzalez declared his candidacy in 2016 for the United States House of Representatives in Texas's 15th congressional district after Rubén Hinojosa, the incumbent representative, announced he would not run for reelection.[8] He won the Democratic Party nomination, defeating Sonny Palacios in the runoff election.[9][10][11] He defeated Republican Tim Westley in the November general election with 57.3% of the vote to Westley's 37.7%.[12]

2018[edit]

Gonzalez defeated Westley again with 59.7% of the vote to Westley's 38.7%.

2020[edit]

In 2020, Gonzalez's seat became unexpectedly competitive. He defeated Republican Monica de la Cruz-Hernandez by a narrower margin than he had in his previous two victories, with 50.5% of the vote to Cruz-Hernandez's 47.6%.[13][14]

2022[edit]

After Texas's redistricting based on the 2020 census, Gonzalez in November 2021 announced that he would run for reelection in the 34th district. The 15th district became more Republican but the neighboring 34th became significantly more Democratic.[15] The Texas state legislature put Gonzalez's residence in the 34th. The incumbent in the 34th district, Filemon Vela Jr., had announced earlier in 2021 that he was not seeking reelection, and would endorse Gonzalez regardless of where he ran. Gonzalez won the district's March 2022 Democratic primary. The Republicans nominated Mayra Flores. After Vela resigned on March 31, 2022, Gonzalez declined to run in and instead endorsed Democrat Dan Sanchez in the consequential special election on June 14, 2022, held in the 34th's older, more competitive boundaries. Flores, however, opted to run in the special election, and won with 50.9% of the vote to Sanchez's 43.4%. As a result, Gonzalez and Flores will face off in the November 8 general election in the rare scenario of two incumbents running for office in the same district.

Tenure[edit]

Gonzalez was sworn on January 3, 2017.[16] He is only the seventh person to represent this district since its creation in 1903.[citation needed]

In January 2019, Gonzalez and other members of the bipartisan U.S. House Problem Solvers Caucus met with President Donald Trump in an unsuccessful bid to end the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history.[17]

Gonzalez received the Order of the Quetzal in January 2020.[18]

In August 2021, Gonzalez joined a group of conservative Democrats, dubbed "The Unbreakable Nine", who threatened to derail the Biden administration's $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package meant to tackle the nation's infrastructure.[19][20]

On July 29, 2022, Gonzalez and four other Democrats joined the Republicans in voting against a bill banning assault weapons.[21]

As of June 2022, Gonzalez had voted in line with Joe Biden's stated position 97.3% of the time.[22]

Committee assignments[edit]

Caucus memberships[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Gonzalez's wife, Lorena, is a former teacher and school administrator from McAllen, Texas. His father was a merchant seaman who served in the Korean War.[28] Gonzalez lives in McAllen.[29]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Texas Birth Index record
  2. ^ "Our District". December 4, 2012.
  3. ^ "Meet Vicente Gonzalez". July 18, 2017.
  4. ^ "Guide to the New Congress" (PDF). Roll Call. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  5. ^ "Official Congressional Website". December 3, 2012.
  6. ^ O'Reilly, Andrew (April 19, 2016). "Texas lawyer Vicente Gonzalez hopes outsider tag takes him to Capitol Hill". Fox News Latino. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  7. ^ "Local Attorney and Small Business Owner Seeks to Build Upon the Legacy of Retiring Representative Rubén Hinojosa – My Harlingen News". Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  8. ^ Politics, Edinburg (November 23, 2015). "Democrat Vicente González announces for Congress to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Hinojosa". Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  9. ^ News, CBS 4 (May 25, 2016). "Democratic Party Runoff: Vicente Gonzalez crushes Sonny Palacios in congressional race". Retrieved November 6, 2016. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  10. ^ "Gonzalez cruises to easy victory in the Democratic primary for open congressional seat; faces GOP opponent in the fall". May 25, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  11. ^ LOPEZ, NAXIELY. "Gonzalez takes Dem nomination for Congressional District 15". Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  12. ^ "Texas Election Results". New York Times. November 9, 2016. Retrieved December 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "Texas Election Results - Official Results". Texas Secretary of State. Retrieved November 26, 2020.
  14. ^ Livingston, Abby; Carolan, Kelsey (November 4, 2020). "Texas Republicans fighting off Democrats in battleground congressional races". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved January 3, 2021.
  15. ^ "House Dems head off retirement crisis - for now". Politico. June 26, 2021. Retrieved June 29, 2021.
  16. ^ Lopez, Naxiely (January 3, 2017). "Newcomer Vicente Gonzalez to be sworn into congress: Pressing issues await the new District 15 representative". The Monitor.
  17. ^ Benning, Tom (January 16, 2019). "Why this Texas Democrat met with Trump amid shutdown fight over border wall". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved June 16, 2021.
  18. ^ Congressman Vicente Gonzalez receives Guatemala's highest honor by Ronnie Marley, CBS4 Valley Central, 20 January 2020
  19. ^ "Already, Cracks Emerge in Rep. Josh Gottheimer's "Unbreakable Nine"". August 25, 2021.
  20. ^ Bouie, Jamelle (August 24, 2021). "Opinion | the 9 Democrats Making Nancy Pelosi's Life Harder Are Making a Big Mistake". The New York Times.
  21. ^ Lee, Ella (July 30, 2022). "Who are the 7 House members who broke with their party in voting on assault weapons ban?". USA Today. Retrieved July 30, 2022.
  22. ^ Bycoffe, Anna Wiederkehr and Aaron (April 22, 2021). "Does Your Member Of Congress Vote With Or Against Biden?". FiveThirtyEight. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  23. ^ Garcia, Berenice (January 11, 2017). "Gonzalez appointed to powerful House committee: Freshman congressman secures assignment to House Financial Services Committee". The Monitor. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
  24. ^ "Members". Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Retrieved May 15, 2018.
  25. ^ "Members". Blue Dog Coalition. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  26. ^ "Featured Members". Problem Solvers Caucus. Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  27. ^ "Leadership | New Democrat Coalition". newdemocratcoalition.house.gov. Retrieved March 29, 2021.
  28. ^ Taylor, Steve (November 22, 2015). "Gonzalez explains why he is running for Congressional District 15". Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  29. ^ Livingston, Abby (May 4, 2020). "U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez suffers broken back, ordered to bed rest at least four weeks". Texas Tribune. Retrieved May 4, 2020.

External links[edit]

U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Texas's 15th congressional district

2017–present
Incumbent
U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by United States representatives by seniority
257th
Succeeded by