Henry Gonzalez (May 3, 1916 - November 28, 2000) was a Democratic politician from the state of Texas. He represented Texas' 20th Congressional District from 1961-1999.
Gonzalez was born in San Antonio. He attended the University of Texas and San Antonio College. Gonzalez served on the San Antonio city council from 1953 to 1956. Gonzalez was then a member of the Texas state senate from 1956 to 1961. Gonzalez set the Texas Senate record by filibustering a set of bills on segregation for 36 straight hours. Most of the bills were abandoned. He ran for governor in 1958, finishing second in the Democratic primary (the real contest for governor in those days) to Congressman Price Daniel. In January 1961, Gonzalez ran in the special election for Lyndon Johnson's Senate seat, finishing sixth. However, in September, 20th District Congressman Paul Kilday was appointed to the Court of Military Appeals. Gonzalez ran in the special election in November and won. He was elected to a full term the next year and seventeen times thereafter. He never faced truly serious or well-funded opposition, running unopposed in 1962, 1970, from 1974 to 1978, 1982 and 1984. In fact, the 20th was (and still is) so heavily Democratic that Gonzalez faced Republican opposition only five times, winning easily each time. He is widely regarded as San Antonio's patron saint.
Gonzalez became known for his liberal views. In 1963, Congressman Ed Foreman called Gonzalez a "communist" and a "pinko" and Gonzalez confronted him. Gonzalez was referred to as a "communist" in 1986 by a man in a restaurant. Gonzalez responded by punching him in the face. Gonzalez was acquitted of assault for this incident.
Gonzalez introduced legislation calling for the impeachment of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush. Gonzalez also blocked hearings into Whitewater until finally agreeing to hold hearings in 1994. In 1997, Gonzalez fell ill and he was unable to return to the House for over a year. Finally, he decided not to run for a 19th full term in 1998. He had long groomed his son, Charlie, to succeed him. The son won easily in 1998 and still holds the seat; between them, father and son have served 44 consecutive years on Congress. He also chaired the committee that investigated the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.