Round Rock Leader Article

Here is an article which appeared in the Round Rock Leader about me and our efforts in this race. I thought you’d like to read it!

Round Rock businessman in Dist. 52 race

BRAD STUTZMAN
Editor

Larry Gonzales, Republican candidate for District 52 state representative, said that in the very early stages of his campaign a woman asked him what kind of legislator he would be.

“Mindful,” is the word that came to mind, Gonzales said. “Mindful of my upbringing. Mindful of who I am. Mindful of the district. Mindful of its needs and doing my best to help.”

Gonzales, 39, is a Round Rock businessman and currently the third GOP candidate vying for the right to challenge first-term incumbent Diana Maldonado (D-Round Rock) in November 2010.

Although the one-month filing period doesn’t start until Dec. 3, candidates have already spent months jockeying for position.

A fourth declared Republican candidate, James Bernsen, dropped out of the race when Gonzales entered it and said he’s en-dorsing Gonzales.

“I like Larry a lot and I think he’d be a better candidate than me,” Bernsen told the Leader Oct. 21.

Gonzales stressed his background and experience – in business, politics and life – qualify him for elected office.

He has owned and operated a small business, Lazarus Graphics (named for his father, Lazarus Gonzales Jr.), since 1996.

A Houston native, Gonzales said he is the grandson of a farmer and welder; the son of a NASA aerospace engineer.

When Gonzales was 8 the family moved to nearby Alvin, where Gonzales said he played junior varsity baseball with Reid Ryan.

Gonzales said that although his paternal grandfather only had a third-grade education, he was a smart man who encouraged his father in his study of aerospace engineering at the University of Texas.

“When we grew up, me and all my cousins, it got instilled in us from very early, from parents and grandparents, go to school,” Gonzales said.

Religious faith was also important in his home, Gonzales stated, noting his family spans a theological gamut that includes a Pentecostal preacher and a rabbi.

Gonzales met his wife (the former Marie Bowman) while he and the 1990 Round Rock High School graduate both played in the UT marching band.

Marie Gonzales is employed as department chair for special education at McNeil High School.

The couple has two children.

According to his campaign literature Gonzales is active in the Deepwood PTA, the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce, Shoreline Christian Church, various Republican and conservative political groups and as a Sertoma girls softball coach.

Moving into the spotlight

Gonzales said he has a wealth of experience working behind the scenes at the Texas State Legislature, stating he has since 1993 participated in nine consecutive legislative sessions.

He has worked for four current or former House members, including a four-year stint as chief of staff for Dist. 18 state Rep. Jim Otto (R-Dayton)

Gonzales said he also worked for then-Lt. Gov. Ricky Perry in 1999 and then-Attorney Gen. John Cornyn in 2001.

Most recently, Gonzales served as assistant vice chancellor of govern-mental relations for the Texas State University System, working as a liaison to the Legislature and other state agencies.

Gonzales said his background gives him an edge over the other announced GOP can-didates, Round Rock attorney Stephen Casey and former Williamson County Republican Party Chairman John Gordon, also of Round Rock.

“I’ve always been the advisor/consultant to the candidate,” Gonzales said. “I’ve always been chief of staff to the member. Now I am the candidate, running to be the member.

“My legislative ex-perience puts me not just surrounded by colleagues but – quite frankly – friends. I can help.”

“I’ve worked my nine legislative sessions,” he added. “I’ve been here in this community for 13 years. That’s where experience comes in. There’s a depth of knowledge that comes over time.”

When asked why he is a Republican, Gonzales said: “I’m a Republican because it was instilled in me very early that I had one responsibility – which was to work hard.

“It was what my grandfather did, what my father did and it was instilled in me that you work hard. My religious upbringing put me in a very conservative home, fiscally and socially.”

Redistricting an issue in race

Gonzales and other Republican candidates point to congressional redistricting – which takes place after the 2010 U.S. Census – as one of the key issues for the 2011 legislative session.

Texas currently has 32 members (20 of them Republicans) in the 435-member U.S. House of Representatives.

Gonzales said next year’s Census should result in Texas receiving more U.S. Reps. – and the Texas State Legislature will have a role to play as it draws boundaries for new districts and redraws existing district lines.

“Wearing a strictly partisan hat … if the Northeast [U.S.] loses five Democrat seats and we pick up five seats, that’s a huge swing,”

Gonzales said education is also an issue, especially as Round Rock becomes a higher-education hub.

He said vocational and technical education programs are sometimes overlooked – but should not be.

“Some of those welders are making $80 an hour to build those [oil] refineries,” Gonzales said. Why aren’t we telling that story? We can’t get them (the kids) to fill those spots fast enough.”

District 52 takes in almost all of Round Rock and almost all of the Anderson Mill and Jollyville areas, as well as Hutto, Taylor and Thrall, plus smaller portions of Georgetown and the Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District.

The rest of Williamson County is represented by District 20 state Rep. Dan Gattis (R-Georgetown).

Contact Brad Stutzman at 255-5827 or by e-mail at editor@rrleader.com.

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