Chairman of the Texas Democratic Party
Born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley, Gilberto attended public schools and received his bachelor’s degree from Pan American University (now University of Texas, PAU). He was the first in his family to graduate from college. He went on and received a doctor of jurisprudence from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C. After law school, Gilberto practiced law as an attorney for Migrant Legal Action Program (MLAP), a national legal services support center in Washington D.C. At MLAP, he represented migrant farm workers in the courts and to state and national governmental agencies. He represented farm workers in class actions seeking federal minimum wages, gained access to farm labor camps, prevented temporary foreign workers from being brought to the United States to break farm worker strikes, and made sure that the U.S. Department of Labor Employment Services Division provided farm workers with needed interstate employment services. Gilberto went on to become the director of the Migrant Farm Worker Program of Colorado Rural Legal Services. In 1981, he returned to Texas, where he was the managing attorney for the Brownsville office of Texas Rural Legal Aid, Inc.
In 1984, Gilberto was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Brownsville Independent School District, where he served as Vice President of the Board before being appointed Presiding Judge of Cameron County Court at Law No. 2. In 1987 Governor Mark White appointed Judge Hinojosa to the 107th District Court where he served until he was elected Justice of the 13th Court of Appeals, serving the 20 South Texas counties from the Rio Grande Valley to Nueces and Matagorda counties. Governor Ann Richards appointed Judge Hinojosa to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, where he helped oversee the Texas prison and parole system. During the time of his service, the Texas Board of Criminal Justice, inspired by the leadership of Governor Ann Richards, developed the first of its kind substance abuse program for prison facilities, designed to treat offenders with substance abuse problems.
After completing his term on the 13th Court of Appeals, Judge Hinojosa was elected Cameron County judge, a position he served in for 12 years. As Cameron County Judge, Judge Hinojosa transformed county government in Cameron County to make it one of the most effective and efficient in the State of Texas. During his tenure as county judge, he managed a $110 million dollar budget (100 times larger than the budget of the Texas Democratic Party). He left Cameron County with an A+ bond rating, one of the lowest tax rates for a county in the State of Texas and the lowest rate for the region including and south of San Antonio. In 2007 Judge Hinojosa was elected Cameron County Democratic Party Chair, where he continues to serve. In 2008 he was elected to the Democratic National Committee and in 2009 Chairman Tim Kaine appointed him to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee. At the time of his appointment, Gilberto was only one of two Latinos appointed.
Gilberto Hinojosa practices law in Brownsville, Texas.
Gilberto is married to Cyndi, who is a Licensed Professional Counselor. He has five wonderful children: Gina, Xochitl, Miguel, Diego and Maya and one grandson – “TGM” (The Great Matteo) and one son in law John P. Donisi.