Log Cabin Republicans alleges that Larry Miller, a candidate for the District 1 seat on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, sent out an anti-gay campaign mailer this week attacking his opponent in the Republican Primary, Cecile Fernandez.
Fernandez, a former Dickey’s Barbecue executive, appeared at a Log Cabin meeting earlier this year and subsequently told Dallas Voice she supports offering domestic partner benefits to county employees. The mailer obtained by Log Cabin, shown above, quotes the Voice’s article and declares, “Cecile Fernandez Supports Spending Your County Tax Dollars to Pay for ‘Partnership’ Benefits. … Does Cecile Fernandez reflect YOUR values?”
“I have the unhappy task of informing you that the political tactics used in the District 1 race for the Dallas County Commissioners Court have hit a new low,” Log Cabin President Thomas Purdy said in a statement. “This week, an anti-gay mailer from the Larry Miller campaign slimed its way into the mailboxes of Republican households across Dallas County.”
Miller, a former Hunt County district attorney, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Last week, Fernandez alleged that Miller planned to send out a “cruel” mailer containing the details of a nasty divorce she went through years ago — a claim which Miller’s campaign denied.
Several Democrats are also vying for the District 1 seat, which is currently held by Republican Commissioner Maurine Dickey. Dickey is retiring and the district was redrawn to be majority Democratic.
UPDATE: Miller said in an email responding to our inquiry: “There is nothing ‘anti-gay’ about our mailer. I do not believe taxpayer money should be used for partnership benefits and my opponent is on the record in favor of taxpayer support of those benefits. I have attended many Republican meetings and met many voters who agree with my position.”
Below is the full statement about the mailer from Log Cabin:
Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas Condemn the Anti-Gay Tactics of the Larry Miller Campaign
I have the unhappy task of informing you that the political tactics used in the District 1 race for the Dallas County Commissioners Court have a hit a new low. This week, an anti-gay mailer from the Larry Miller campaign slimed its way into the mailboxes of Republican households across Dallas County. In it, Larry Miller attacks his opponent, Republican Cecile Fernandez for appearing at our own kickoff event for Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, an event in which she declared support for offering domestic partnership benefits to Dallas County employees. Because of her support for equality, the mailer poses the gay baiting question, “Does Cecile Fernandez reflect YOUR values?”
As with so many issues facing Dallas County that Mr. Miller lacks any depth of knowledge in, it is likely he is also unaware that, by city, Dallas has the 8th largest gay population in the United States. Mr. Miller would do well to remember that fact, that Dallas County collects a significant portion of tax payers’ hard earned dollars from the same people he wishes to discriminate against. Perhaps he could also use a friendly reminder that the role of a County Commissioner is to represent the interests of all citizens of Dallas County to include the ones he has the audacity to look down on. When Mr. Miller was a Democrat District Attorney in the 1970s, that kind of view may have been the norm, but times have changed, both in private business and public government. Today, 57% of all Fortune 500 Companies offer partner benefits. 62% of Texas voters are now in favor of offering reasonable domestic partnership benefits such as health care coverage to gay and lesbian government employees. And today, leadership on both national and local levels has made it clear that Log Cabin is welcome in the Republican Party. I submit to you that Larry Miller’s ugly, divisive politics are not, nor would they stand a chance in a general election where the support of independents is critical.
Cecile Fernandez has extensive experience in the private sector, as both a small business owner and a corporate executive, which will undoubtedly prove useful when dealing with the County’s mismanaged budget. Aside from a career in business, she found time to serve her community, as both a County employee and also as a volunteer for disadvantaged women and their children. For the last two election cycles, she has faithfully served our party as a Republican Precinct Chair and as a respected conservative activist in our community. Her work most relevant to the REAL issues in this election is as a leader within the Dallas County Commissioners Court “Watchdogs” – a nonpartisan group dedicated to fighting the corruption in Dallas County Government. Her tireless efforts to protect the citizens of Dallas County are well known and well documented for voters to examine for themselves. Contrast that with Mr. Miller, who first stepped foot in Commissioners Court only after he decided he was qualified to serve on it.
If you have not voted yet, I encourage you all, please do so. Remind your friends, regardless of party, regardless of orientation, that their vote makes all the difference in electing the right Republicans who represent YOUR values, the values of Dallas County, as well as preventing the election of those who do not.
THOMAS C. PURDY
President, Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas