Jose “Chito” Vela III is originally from Laredo, Texas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a bachelor’s in history in 1995, a master’s in public affairs in 1999, and a law degree in 2004. Following law school, Chito worked in the Open Records Division of the Texas Attorney General’s Office. In 2007, he became General Counsel to Texas State Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr. In 2011, he started his own law practice before joining forces with Jennifer Walker Gates in 2013 to form Walker Gates Vela. Chito focuses on criminal defense and immigration, particularly the relationship between the two.
Chito is a former City of Austin Planning Commissioner and former board chair of Workers Defense Project. In 2018, Chito ran for Texas State Representative, narrowly losing in a Democratic primary runoff. He continues to be actively involved in the community, especially around issues regarding immigration and criminal justice.