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Bush Names First Latino Appointment
by James E. Garcia
December 15, 2000
The Associated Press has learned that President-elect George W. Bush has settled on the first Latino appointment of his administration. Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzalez will serve as his general counsel.
Gonzales, 45, reportedly told court associates that he was offered the job and accepted it. The AP noted that Bush aides did not dispute it.
"I've had discussions with the governor about working in Washington but any final decision and any announcement of that decision will have to come from him," Gonzalez told the AP Friday. He added that he has told Bush that his family would be willing to move to Washington.
Speculation is circulating that Texas Railroad Commissioner Tony Garza and a former Reagan civil rights official Linda Chavez may be named to serve in a Bush cabinet. Both are Republicans. U.S. Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-Texas, might also be a prospect, though early reports suggest he will stay in Congress in hopes of attaining a key committee appointment. Bonilla is one of only three Latino Republicans in Congress.
A Bush appointee to the state's high court, Gonzalez won reelection in November. He was appointed by Bush to fill the un-expired term of Justice Raul Gonzalez in 1999. Previously, Gonzalez was Bush's secretary of state.
As secretary of state, Gonzales was a senior advisor to Bush, the chief elections officer, and the governor's top liaison on Mexico and border issues. Before his appointment as secretary of state, Gonzales served as general counsel to Bush for three years.
According to a short biography posted on the Texas Supreme Court website, Gonzales is a member of the American Law Institute. He was a board trustee of the Texas Bar Foundation from 1996 to 1999, a board director for the State Bar of Texas from 1991 to 1994, and president of the Houston Hispanic Bar Association from 1990 to 1991.
Gonzalez received a presidential citation from the State Bar of Texas in 1997 for providing legal aide to the poor, he was named Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association in 1999, and he was picked as one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics by Hispanic Business magazine in 1999.
The White House counsel advises the president on all legal issues concerning the Office of the President and the White House, such as policy, ethics and whether to approve or veto legislation.
Gonzales was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Houston. He was the second Hispanic to serve on the Texas Supreme Court.