GONZALES, RAUL A. (1940 ~) Raul A. Gonzalez, Jr., the first Hispanic appointed or elected to statewide office in Texas, was born March 20, 1940, and graduated from Weslaco High School in 1959. Four years later, in 1963, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from the University of Texas at Austin and a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Houston in January 1966. He also graduated from the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. He also earned a Master of Laws in judicial process from the University of Virginia Law School in 1986.
Following his graduation, Gonzales was admitted to the State Bar of Texas on May 12, 1966. As an attorney, he was in the private practice of law, served as Diocesan attorney for Brownsville's Catholic Diocese, was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Texas, an attorney for the Houston Legal Foundation, and served as assistant city attorney in Houston.
On May 16, 1978, Gonzalez was appointed Judge of the 103rd Judicial District of Texas by Governor Dolph Briscoe and was elected to a full, four-year term in November of that same year. However, Gonzalez was unable to complete his term on the bench, as Governor Bill Clements appointed him as an associate justice on 13th Court of Appeals. He was elected to a full term on November 2, 1982, but, again, was unable to complete his term, as Governor Mark White appointed him to a vacant seat on the Supreme Court. Gonzalez served on the court from October 8, 1984 to December 31, 1998.
Justice Gonzalez and his wife, the former Dora Champion, have served as the U. S. Coordinator for Worldwide Marriage Encounter in Spanish and is a past director of the Brownsville Rotary Club, South Texas Rehabilitation Independent School District, the Brownsville Community Development Corporation and the University of Houston Board of Regents.
Justice Gonzalez received the Distinguished Service Award from the Brownsville Jaycees, the Outstanding Performance Rating from the Department of Justice, and is a Toll Fellow of the Council of State Governments. In 1992, he received the St. Thomas More Society Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1994, he was granted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Edward's University.
Justice Gonzalez and his wife live in Austin, where they are active in St. Ignatius Parish and are the parents of four children: Celeste, Jamie, Marco, and Sonia.
Information provided by Justice and Mrs. Raul A. Gonzalez.