December 27, 2004


Gonzales's Journey: From the Stands to the Heights: Migrant Workers' Son Worked Way to Air Force Academy, Harvard, a Top Law Firm -- and Government (Sylvia Moreno, December 28, 2004, Washington Post)

One Saturday afternoon this May, Alberto R. Gonzales addressed the 2004 graduating class of Rice University and talked about growing up in an impoverished household on the north edge of Houston.

His parents, former migrant workers, had only eight years of schooling between them and barely spoke English. The family of 10 lived in a small two-bedroom house with no hot water and no telephone. There was no tradition of education in the family, only of working hard to scrape by.

Gonzales took his first job at 12 to help support the family, and as he carried trays of soft drinks in the upper deck of Rice Stadium on football Saturdays he aspired to a better life. "I would stare over the stadium walls and watch the Rice students stroll back to the colleges, and I wondered what it would be like to be one of you, a Rice student," Gonzales said.

He went on to be one of them and much more. "In many ways, Al embodies the American dream," says President Bush, who often talks about the real-life Horatio Alger aspects of Gonzales's life.

Today, Gonzales is Bush's nominee for attorney general, the nation's top law enforcement officer. He is the first Hispanic named to the post.

The journey reflects a life of extraordinary achievement for this child of migrants. Gonzales is a Rice alumnus; a graduate of Harvard Law School; a former partner in Houston's largest law firm, Vinson & Elkins; a top appointee in Bush's gubernatorial administration in Texas; and, for the past four years, the White House counsel to Bush.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 27, 2004 11:42 PM
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