Meet Rep. Charlie Gonzalez: The New Face of Latino Democrats

Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-TX) was unanimously selected to become the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this week. Latino Democrats met to select their new leadership in the hopes of starting to plan legislative strategy for 2011.

Gonzalez acknowledged that both he and the caucus are "faced with unique challenges and opportunities to work together to find a common ground for real solutions.” With Latinos gaining political clout, and Gonzalez representing the majority of us now in congress, we wanted to learn a little bit more about the voice of the Latino Democrats. Here's what we found out:

Who is Rep. Charlie Gonzalez? Gonzalez is a San Antonio based lawyer. He has been the representative of Texas's 20th district since 1999, a seat he took over from his father, Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez, who held the position from 1961-1999. Between them, the father and son have served 48 consecutive years in Congress as of November 2009. Gonzalez is considered to be a moderate democrat, but he supports more liberal policies when it comes to environmental and economic issues.

What's his experience? Gonzalez served in the Texas Air National Guard before he began practicing law. In 1982, he started to rise through the ranks of the judicial system. He served first as a municipal court judge, and then moved on to elected positions as county and district court judge. He was elected to the House of Representative in 1999. Gonzalez serves on the committee's for energy and commerce, judiciary and house administration. He is a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the LGBT Equality Caucus.

Where does he stand on the issues? Rep. Gonzalez is pro-choice and has repeatedly voted in favor of expanding stem cell research. He supports civil rights and has voted against efforts to pass a Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. He has voted against a variety of free trade agreements and supports liberal environmental policies. He has voted repeatedly in favor of immigrants. He voted against building a fence along the Mexican border and reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment.