In a primary election on May 24, racer Caesar Gonzales won the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Georgia’s 13th Congressional District, which encompasses a significant portion of the Atlanta metropolitan area.
“I’ve worked very hard for this,” Gonzales exclusively told Roadracingworld.com Wednesday. “I campaigned like a demon. I hit every district. I was out on the streets talking to people. I was in all the local Republican clubs campaigning, and my opponents, on the other hand, just were not there.
“I put a lot of work to get the message out, and the message just resonated. And oddly enough it resonated with Democrats, too.”
Gonzales’ message traces back to his childhood, which he openly admits was very challenging.
“I grew up in New York. I grew up on the streets. I was a ward of the state. I lived in a boys’ home,” said Gonzales. “What are the solutions that will work in this district, which are 92% inner-city communities? What worked for me then? What will work for the community now?
“Looking back I was fortunate enough to have a social worker who asked, ‘What do you like to do? Because if you don’t find a hobby you’re going to end up in the penitentiary.’ I said, ‘I like motorcycles,’ and within two weeks I was in vocational school for motorcycle repair.
“That transformed my life. That changed everything. All of a sudden, I could earn an income, I could pay rent, I could buy a motorcycle – and I had a number of them. But it helped me become independent. And I think that is severely lacking in a lot of the inner-city communities nowadays.
“These kids have nothing to do. They have no sense of direction, no sense of self-worth. So, what do they do? They go on the streets. What’s on the streets? Crime. So, you have this increase in the crime rate among our young people, and what do we do? We just lock them up.
“Who are we locking up? This kid could be the one with the cure for cancer or he could be the next MotoGP Champion. We never know because we’ve not given them many options and we’ve taken opportunities away from them.
“I care very much about our communities, and it takes an investment in our community to get the best return. We can’t just let our young kids and disadvantaged workers and veterans fall through the cracks. We’ve got to give people options.
“That’s why the cornerstone of my campaign is vocational training. It answers a number of different questions and addresses a number of different problems in the community. Vocational training and oversight and accountability of federal resources.”
Gonzales said the tipping point that pushed him into action was seeing incumbent politicians making themselves rich at the expense of their community.
“I just go to a point where I saw a lot of resources being directed into the district I live in and nothing hitting the street,” said Gonzales. “I did a lot of non-profit work, particularly with child abuse [victims] and the homeless and indigent families. I heard a local politician say, ‘We brought $11 million in to address homelessness.’ I pressed him on where the money went. $11 million paid for a slideshow. A slideshow!
“My mouth was agape because I worked for a HUD community [group supporting] indigent families, and they’re having to source private donors because these resources this particular councilman was talking about weren’t there.”
Now that he has won the nomination of the Republican party, Gonzales will on November 8, 2022, face off against incumbent Democrat David Scott, who is in his 10th term and 20th year in Congress. But Gonzales says he has received a lot of support for his message and his campaign and is expecting to receive even more.
“One of my biggest supporters, believe it or not, is [former Pro football player] Herschel Walker,” who is running as a Republican for the U.S. Senate in Georgia, said Gonzales. “It was a funny story. I saw him at one event. He’s got people hovering all around him asking for autographs, so I decided to leave him alone.
“I had to give my speech before he gave his. So, we’re standing there and he turns and looks at me and goes, ‘So you’re that motorcycle racer.’ And I turn and look at him and go, ‘So you’re that football player.’ And that was the icebreaker. You would’ve thought we’d known each other for a long time. We were cutting up and having a good ol’ time while we were campaigning.”
Asked if his many years in motorcycle road racing helped prepare him for his current journey, Gonzales – a machinist, fabricator, welder, and engineer by profession – said, “Oh, absolutely! Without a doubt. It’s the investment that’s required. It’s acclimating oneself to the visibility. It’s the reaching out and making contacts to help you along in the journey and the process, from getting with the right suspension guy to sourcing out decent tires to getting the equipment you need to make the bike competitive. It’s all relative. I think racing gave me a clear perspective where to focus my attention. I cannot emphasize how invaluable that experience was for preparing me for this.”
To learn more or to support Gonzales’ campaign, go to https://caesargonzalesforcongress.us/.