Ed Oakley: ‘What is [Tom Leppert] smoking?’

Posted on 28 Feb 2011 at 9:59am
Ed Oakley is shown alongside Tom Leppert during a runoff debate in 2007.

Turns out we aren’t the only ones concerned about the potential negative impact of Tom Leppert’s gay-loving past on his bid for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in 2012. From a Dallas Morning News article Sunday about Leppert’s chances, which appeared under the headline, “Ex-Dallas mayor Tom Leppert faces tough odds in U.S. Senate run”:

There are photos of Leppert participating in Dallas parades celebrating gay pride, which could cause angst for conservative voters, as well. …

But Leppert says he’ll be able to convince voters that he has the tools.

“I’m a conservative Republican and I always have been,” he said. “What our issues have to be is building a tax base. What you’ve got to do is grow the economy. I want to make a difference on those national economic issues.”

Leppert said he’s guided by his faith on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. He’s a member of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. He’s against abortion and believes marriage is between a man and woman.

“On the fiscal issues, on the spending issues, you’re going to find me as conservative as anybody,” he said. “On the social issues, I view those as faith issues. I’m comfortable talking about them, but I don’t want to lose sight on what’s going to make a difference.”

Leppert, of course, never mentioned his anti-LGBT views while serving as mayor. In fact, when we asked Leppert about marriage equality in 2008, he told us he was undecided on the issue. But don’t feel bad, because the LGBT community isn’t the only thing Leppert was for before he was against it. In a separate article on Sunday, the Morning News reported that Leppert, who championed the Trinity River Project as mayor, is now suddenly opposed to funding the project with earmarks. The article quotes openly gay former City Councilman Ed Oakley, who was defeated by Leppert in the mayor’s race in 2007:

“He can’t get out of office fast enough to hurry up and get to the right,” said former City Council member Ed Oakley, who served as the first chairman of the council’s Trinity River project committee.

“Is he for Dallas? Who is he for? Sen. Hutchison was the biggest proponent of the Trinity, now we have this guy trying to take her place.” Oakley said. “He champions the Trinity. He went to Washington to ask for money. Now he’s saying he’s going to rearrange the budget in Washington to pay for the Trinity? What is he smoking? The only way we’ve ever gotten money is through earmarks.”

Oakley, who ran against Leppert in the 2007 race for mayor, said “a Leppert never changes his spots,” and that “Leppert was all about Leppert,” not the residents of Dallas.

Oakley wasn’t done, either. In a third article about Leppet’s legacy, Oakley again slammed the former mayor for putting his personal agenda ahead of the city’s:

At one point, Ed Oakley might have joined the chorus of those singing Leppert’s praises.

Though Leppert handily beat him to become mayor in a runoff in 2007, Oakley became one of Leppert’s most vocal champions, especially during bare-knuckled campaigns over the hotel and the Trinity River toll road.

Now, Oakley wonders if he made a mistake, if Leppert was always more interested in his own advancement than the city’s.

“I supported him as mayor. I have stood up and said, ‘He is my mayor, stop attacking him.’ But I really think he’s leaving the city of Dallas for personal reasons. If you are going to ask for this job, you put your personal agenda aside,” he said.


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