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Henry B. Gonzalez

Henry B. Gonzalez

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Henry Barbosa González was a Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 from the state
U.S. state
A U.S. state is any one of the 50 federated states of the United States of America that share sovereignty with the federal government. Because of this shared sovereignty, an American is a citizen both of the federal entity and of his or her state of domicile. Four states use the official title of...

 of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. He represented Texas's 20th congressional district
Texas's 20th congressional district
-References:*...

 from 1961 to 1999.

Background


González was born in San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

, to parents who had immigrated during the Mexican Revolution
Mexican Revolution
The Mexican Revolution was a major armed struggle that started in 1910, with an uprising led by Francisco I. Madero against longtime autocrat Porfirio Díaz. The Revolution was characterized by several socialist, liberal, anarchist, populist, and agrarianist movements. Over time the Revolution...

. He attended the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

 and San Antonio College
San Antonio College
San Antonio College is a community college that is a part of the Alamo Community College District. It is located on San Pedro Avenue, across from San Pedro Park, near downtown San Antonio. SAC is the oldest public two-year college in Texas...

, earning his undergraduate degree. Later, he received a Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor
Juris Doctor is a professional doctorate and first professional graduate degree in law.The degree was first awarded by Harvard University in the United States in the late 19th century and was created as a modern version of the old European doctor of law degree Juris Doctor (see etymology and...

 from St. Mary's University School of Law
St. Mary's University School of Law
St. Mary's University School of Law is one of the professional graduate schools of St. Mary's University. The law school is located in San Antonio, Texas, and is the oldest Catholic law school in the American Southwest. The University is a private Catholic university...

. Upon graduation, he became a probation officer, and was quickly promoted to the chief office of Bexar County, Texas
Bexar County, Texas
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,392,931 people, 488,942 households, and 345,681 families residing in the county. The population density was 1,117 people per square mile . There were 521,359 housing units at an average density of 418 per square mile...

. In 1950, he was Scoutmaster of Troop 90 of San Antonio, of which his son
Charlie Gonzalez
Charles A. "Charlie" Gonzalez , is a Democratic politician from Texas. He has represented Texas's 20th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999. The district includes more than half of San Antonio....

 was a member.

González served on the San Antonio
San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the United States of America and the second-largest city within the state of Texas, with a population of 1.33 million. Located in the American Southwest and the south–central part of Texas, the city serves as the seat of Bexar County. In 2011,...

 city council from 1953 to 1956. He was then a member of the Texas state senate from 1956 to 1961. González set the Texas Senate record by filibustering a set of bills on segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 for 22 straight hours. Most of the bills were abandoned (eight out of ten). He ran for governor
Governor of Texas
The governor of Texas is the head of the executive branch of Texas's government and the commander-in-chief of the state's military forces. The governor has the power to either approve or veto bills passed by the Texas Legislature, and to convene the legislature...

 in 1958, finishing second in the Democratic primary
Primary election
A primary election is an election in which party members or voters select candidates for a subsequent election. Primary elections are one means by which a political party nominates candidates for the next general election....

 (the real contest for governor in a solidly Democratic state) to Senator Price Daniel
Price Daniel
Marion Price Daniel, Sr. , was a Democratic U.S. Senator and the 38th Governor of the state of Texas. He was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to be a member of the National Security Council, Director of the Office of Emergency Preparedness, and Assistant to the President for Federal-State...

. In January 1961, González ran in the special election for Lyndon Johnson's Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 seat, finishing sixth. However, in September, 20th District Rep. Paul J. Kilday
Paul J. Kilday
Paul Joseph Kilday was a U.S. Representative from Texas.-Early life and education:Born in Sabinal, Kilday was the sixth child of Patrick Kilday, an immigrant from Ireland who was established as a merchant, and his Texas-born wife, Mary Tallant Kilday. Kilday moved with his parents and siblings to...

 was appointed to the Court of Military Appeals
United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces
The United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces or CAAF is an Article I court that exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the United States armed forces on active duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice...

. González ran in the special election for the San Antonio-based district in November and won. He was unopposed for a full term the next year, and was reelected seventeen times. He never faced truly serious or well-funded opposition, running unopposed in 1970, from 1974 to 1978, 1982 and 1984. In fact, the 20th was (and still is) so heavily Democratic that González faced Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 opposition only five times, winning easily each time.

González became known for his liberal views. In 1963, Rep. Ed Foreman
Ed Foreman
Edgar Franklin "Ed" Foreman is a motivational speaker in Dallas. He served one term representing a district in west Texas in the United States House of Representatives in 1963-65 and he served one term representing the southern district of New Mexico in Congress from 1969-71.-Early years in New...

 (R-Texas) called González a "communist" and a "pinko
Pinko
Pinko is a term for a person regarded as being sympathetic to communism, though not necessarily a Communist Party member.The term has its origins in the notion that pink is a lighter shade of red, the color associated with communism...

" and González confronted him. González was referred to as a "communist" in 1986 by a man at Earl Abel's
Earl Abel's
Earl Abel's is a popular restaurant in San Antonio, Texas that opened in 1933 and existed at one location from 1940 until 2006. It has been popular for its diverse menu ranging from Fried Chicken and Rainbow Trout to its selection of desserts including German chocolate cake and lemon meringue pie;...

 restaurant, a popular San Antonio eatery. The 70 year-old representative responded by punching him in the face. González was acquitted of assault for this incident.

González chaired the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations
United States House Select Committee on Assassinations
The United States House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations ' was established in 1976 to investigate the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr. and the shooting of Governor George Wallace. The Committee investigated until 1978, and in 1979 issued its final...

 that investigated the deaths of John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

 He introduced legislation calling for the impeachment
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 of Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 and George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

. González also blocked hearings into Whitewater
Whitewater
Whitewater is formed in a rapid, when a river's gradient increases enough to disturb its laminar flow and create turbulence, i.e. form a bubbly, or aerated and unstable current; the frothy water appears white...

 until finally agreeing to hold hearings in 1994. In 1997, González fell ill and was unable to return to the House for over a year. Finally, he decided not to run for a 19th full term in 1998. He had long groomed his son, Charlie
Charlie Gonzalez
Charles A. "Charlie" Gonzalez , is a Democratic politician from Texas. He has represented Texas's 20th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1999. The district includes more than half of San Antonio....

, to succeed him. Charlie Gonzalez won easily in 1998 and still holds the seat; between them, father and son have served 50 consecutive years in Congress (as of November 2011). He was an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve System
Federal Reserve System
The Federal Reserve System is the central banking system of the United States. It was created on December 23, 1913 with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act, largely in response to a series of financial panics, particularly a severe panic in 1907...

 and in 1993 proposed an audit of the central bank.

According to Gretchen Morgenson's book on the 2008 financial meltdown, "Reckless Endangerment," while head of the House Banking Committee, Gonzalez invited the organization ACORN "to help legislators define the goals when they were devising the new legislation covering Fannie and Freddie."

Legacy



On October 24, 2006, it was announced that Rep. González's personal notes, correspondence and mementos would become part of the Congressional History Collection at the University of Texas at Austin
University of Texas at Austin
The University of Texas at Austin is a state research university located in Austin, Texas, USA, and is the flagship institution of the The University of Texas System. Founded in 1883, its campus is located approximately from the Texas State Capitol in Austin...

's Center for American History.

External links