Alberto R. Gonzales was sworn in as the nation's 80th Attorney General on February 3, 2005.
In his initial remarks to Department of Justice employees, Attorney General Gonzales reminded them of their mission and noted they have "a special obligation to protect America against future acts of terrorism. We will continue to make that our top priority while remaining consistent with our values and legal obligations. That will be the lodestar that guides us in our efforts at the Department."
Prior to serving at the Department of Justice, he was commissioned as White House Counsel to President George W. Bush in January of 2001. Prior to serving in the White House, he served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. Before his appointment to the Texas Supreme Court in 1999, he served as Texas' 100th Secretary of State from December 2, 1997 to January 10, 1999. Among his many duties as Secretary of State, Gonzales was a senior advisor to then Governor Bush, chief elections officer, and the Governor's lead liaison on Mexico and border issues.
Prior to his appointment as Secretary of State, Gonzales was the General Counsel to Governor Bush for three years. Before joining the Governor's staff, he was a partner with the law firm of Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. in Houston, Texas. He joined the firm in June 1982. While in private practice, Gonzales also taught law as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center.
Among his many professional and civic activities, Gonzales was elected to the American Law Institute in 1999. 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. He was a board director of the United Way of the Texas Gulf Coast from 1993 to 1994, and President of Leadership Houston during this same period. In 1994, Gonzales served as Chair of the Commission for District Decentralization of the Houston Independent School District, and as a member of the Committee on Undergraduate Admissions for Rice University. Gonzales was Special Legal Counsel to the Houston Host Committee for the 1990 Summit of Industrialized Nations, and a member of delegations sent by the American Council of Young Political Leaders to Mexico in 1996 and to the People's Republic of China in 1995.
Among his many honors, in 2003 Gonzales was inducted into the Hispanic Scholarship Fund Alumni Hall of Fame, was honored with the Good Neighbor Award from the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce, and received President's Awards from the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the League of United Latin American Citizens. In 2002, he was recognized as a Distinguished Alumnus of Rice University by the Association of Rice Alumni and was honored by the Harvard Law School Association with the Harvard Law School Association Award. Gonzales was recognized as the 1999 Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association, and he received a Presidential Citation from the State Bar of Texas in 1997 for his dedication to addressing basic legal needs of the indigent. He was chosen as one of the Five Outstanding Young Texans by the Texas Jaycees in 1994, and as the Outstanding Young Lawyer of Texas by the Texas Young Lawyers Association in 1992. Gonzales was honored by the United Way in 1993 with a Commitment to Leadership Award, and received the Hispanic Salute Award in 1989 from the Houston Metro Ford Dealers for his work in the field of education.
Gonzales was born in San Antonio, Texas and raised in Houston. He is a graduate of Texas public schools, Rice University, and Harvard Law School. Gonzales served in the United States Air Force between 1973 and 1975, and attended the United States Air Force Academy between 1975 and 1977. He and his wife, Rebecca Turner Gonzales, have three sons.