Veronica Gonzales is a native of 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 spent two decades building an acclaimed career as an attorney. Until, July, 2012, she was 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 four consecutive years, she was 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. She was re-elected three more times, and in her eight years in the Texas House, earned numerous accolades and was appointed to several leadership positions, including Secretary of the State Democratic Caucus, “Freshman of the Year” by the Mexican-American Legislative Caucus and Secretary and Legal Counsel 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 appointed her to the National Conference of State Legislators' Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Taskforce.
In addition, Veronica has served 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 on the Board of Directors of the Texas Lyceum Association, a statewide leadership organization.
Healthcare issues in the Rio Grande Valley are of great concern to Veronica and for three legislative sessions, she sat 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 Veronica one of eight "Ultimate Latinas" in the nation, recognizing her legislative achievements that benefit the business community.
In March 2011, Veronica received the “Voice of the People” award from the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network.
In 2012, Veronica was named a “Woman of Distinction” by the Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC). That same year, she was named a Distinguished Alumni by Texas State University as well as by the alumni association of San Marcos High School.
In 2013, Veronica was inducted into the Rio Grande Valley’s Walk of Fame, having been nominated by the City of McAllen.
In July, 2012, Veronica took a retirement from the practice of law to assume the position of Vice President for University Advancement at the University of Texas-Pan American. In her new role, Veronica oversees fundraising, marketing, public affairs and alumni relations at a university that is one of the largest Hispanic serving institutions in the nation. She also remains very active in her community, serving on the Edinburg Rotary, on the board of Easter Seals RGV and as an advisory board member of Lone Star National Bank, in addition to being a member of the National Hispanic Professionals Organization and various Valley Chambers. Veronica has always credited her success and the many opportunities she has received to education and it is her mission to play an integral part in making a college education more affordable and attainable to students throughout the State of Texas.