Candidate Profile from Congressional QuarterlyCharlie Gonzalez (D) of San Antonio
At the Capitol, the Gonzalez name has become synonymous with San Antonio's Democratic politics thanks to the 37-year tenure of Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez. Now his son Charlie will take the reins, bringing with him a consensus-building style likely to contrast with his father's passionate and often stubborn brand of populism.
Many believe Gonzalez can chalk up his victory to his last name, citing the elder Gonzalez's legendary prominence among the heavily Democratic and majority-Hispanic neighborhoods in the district. Gonzalez the younger says that reputation has been hard to live up to, even though he sports a long list of qualifications, including 14 years as a judge.
Gonzalez cites the economic redevelopment of recently closed Kelly Air Force Base as one of the district's largest concerns, as well as the state of San Antonio's public schools. He also talks about the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the district's disparate number of people living at or below the poverty line.
However, Gonzalez's first choice for a committee assignment ÷ Banking ÷ is at least partially attributed to his legacy. His father served on the panel from the time he arrived in Congress in 1961.
But Gonzalez's last name is likely to make his experience as a freshman slightly atypical. He says he wants not only to build relationships with his colleagues on both sides of the aisle but also to expand on his father's legacy to better serve his constituents.
Nonetheless, Gonzalez says he is prepared to face reality as a freshman member. He says he is coming to the House with a realistic perspective of what he can accomplish, not as a bright-eyed idealist.