Veronica Gonzales is a native San Marcos. She learned firsthand the importance of education when she became the first in her family to go to college. She graduated cum laude from Southwest Texas State University in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish. She later earned her Doctorate of Jurisprudence from the University of Texas School of Law in 1991. Upon graduating from law school, she moved to McAllen and has spent two decades building an acclaimed career as an attorney. She is a name partner in the law firm of Kittleman, Thomas & Gonzales, L.L.P. and in 2008, she was recognized as one of 30 "Extraordinary Woman in Law" by Texas Lawyer. For three consecutive years, she has been named a Super Lawyer by The Texas Super Lawyers.
In 2004, voters in the McAllen, Mission, Edinburg and Alton area elected Veronica Gonzales to serve as the first female representing District 41 in the Texas House of Representatives. Since then, she has been re-elected twice, has earned numerous accolades and has been appointed to several leadership positions.
Rep. Gonzales stood out even in her first legislative session in 2005 by being elected by her peers as Secretary of the State Democratic Caucus and for passing the highest percentage of bills of any Democratic Legislator in the Texas House that year. Veronica’s success as a first-year lawmaker prompted the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus to name her "Freshman of the Year" and media outlets around Texas paid attention. The Texas Observer called her "A Legislator to Watch" and the Dallas Morning News identified her as an "Emerging Leader." Rep. Gonzales continued to distinguish herself among her colleagues in her second session, being elected again as Secretary of the State Democratic Caucus, as well as Secretary of the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus.
Veronica earned a new title in the 2009 session when Speaker of the House Joe Straus appointed her as Chairman of the Border & Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, only one of 34 chairs out of 150 members. Recognizing her leadership on border and security issues, the Speaker also recently appointed her to the National Conference of State Legislators' Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Taskforce.
Rep. Gonzales is also serving her third session on the Public Health Committee, giving her a key decision-making role on issues affecting the public’s health like disease prevention, medical licensing and access to care. Addressing the health care needs in South Texas led Gonzales to pass legislation to increase up to $165,000.00 the amount of loans forgiven for doctors who agree to practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas like the Rio Grande Valley. The measure earned her the "Legislative Champion Award" from The Texas Association of Community Health Centers, the "Patient Advocacy Award" from the Texas Academy of Family Physicians, as well as and praise from several medical and health care organizations.
In September 2010, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce named Representative Gonzales one of eight "Ultimate Latinas" in the nation, recognizing her legislative achievements that benefit the business community.
Veronica passed numerous pieces of legislation to address the diverse needs of her district such as protecting families from family violence, increasing access to education by allowing students to pay their tuition in payments and giving community colleges the ability to waive tuition and fees for employees who want to continue their education, improving conditions in the colonias, creating courts for Hidalgo County, cracking down on unethical towing practices and the list goes on and on.
Veronica is at the forefront of issues affecting the Hispanic population in Texas, serving as General Counsel for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, and chairing the caucus' Immigration Task force. Beyond her roles in the Texas House of Representatives, she participates in state and national leadership organizations such as the Aspen-Rodel Fellowship, which each year chooses only 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans nationwide to participate in its Public Leadership Program and is on the Board of Directors of the Texas Lyceum Association, a statewide leadership organization.
In March 2011, Rep. Gonzales received the “Voice of the People” award from the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network, and has been named a Distinguished Alumni by Texas State University.
Rep. Gonzales has never forgotten the community that sent her to Austin, and serves as a member of many community, legal and political organizations and has participated on various boards as an advisory member, including South Texas College’s Early Childhood Development Board, The Children’s Defense Fund, and Texas Rural Legal Aid.