Caesar Gonzales lived his childhood in a boy's home. As a first-generation American, Caesar struggled with obstacles, including poverty, crime, and child abuse. As a 15-year-old misled youth, Caesar was introduced to a motorcycle repair school which led to a life he could have never dreamed of. Caesar Gonzales wants to give the same opportunities to the youth in the 13th District.
He recalls living in a basement in Long Island, N.Y., and was fed a small bowl of macaroni once a day when his parents remembered to provide dinner. He often endured the “bloody head” treatment, which he described as a beating so severe that blood would trickle down the front of his face.
Through all of this, he maintained a dream.
In fifth grade, Gonzales was removed from his home by Child Protective Services and was placed in foster care. He credits his counselor, who happened to be a motorcycle enthusiast, for pushing him to pursue his passion, and at 15 years old, Gonzales started motorcycle repair school within B.O.C.ES. (Boards of Cooperative Educational Services). The skillsets learned at BOCES gave Caesar the ability to earn an income, which helped him survive homelessness and a crime-driven environment, leading him to greater opportunities.
Arriving in Atlanta during the 1996 Summer Olympics, Gonzales began working as a mechanic in a handful of shops before opening Highside Motorsports in Lithia Springs, Ga., all the while feeling the itch to take his skills to the race-track. Two years after moving to Georgia, he pulled together $300 to purchase a Kawasaki EX500 motorcycle and took his bike to Talladega Gran Prix Raceway in Munford, Ala., for his first WERA Clubman race.
Once his racing days began to wane, Gonzales said it was time to start seeking alternative careers. His original pursuit of a bachelor’s degree began in 1989, but those plans were put on hold as he took up racing, ran a shop of his own and started a family. It wasn’t until he spoke with his children about attending college that he found a renewed interest in completing his studies.
“They said, ‘college is too hard; you never finished,’” Gonzales said. “I took it as a challenge. I said, ‘I’m going to go back and finish my degree.’” He enrolled at Southern Polytechnic State University, now Kennesaw State, in May 2010 and immersed himself in student life. A founding member of Kennesaw State’s Electric Vehicle Team, he continued to support the team financially over the years. Among his proudest moments with the club, Gonzales said was: "taking a napkin drawing of an electric motorcycle, engineering it with my classmates, and racing the vehicle at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the span of two weeks."
In 2018, Caesar received the opportunity to work for Space X. As an engineer and technician, he worked on projects like the Crew Dragon capsule and Falcon-9 booster rocket. He later worked for Blue origin at their launch facility in Van Horn, Texas.
Reflecting on his life's journey, Gonzales said he hopes to inspire the next generation of youth by sharing his story, which he has written about in his book, Beating the Odds: An Autobiographical Rags to Racing Story. He now advocates for victims of child abuse and tells his story to local elementary schoolers in the hope that others will pursue dreams of their own. Caesar brings his experiences to the 13th District in an effort to help guide young men into brighter futures.