Fitzsimmons backs Foster's opponent, says county judge 'incapable' of providing needed leadership

Posted on 10 Mar 2009 at 10:29am

Openly gay Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons is among the latest Democratic elected officials to endorse lawyer Clay Jenkins, who plans to challenge County Judge Jim Foster in the party’s 2010 primary. Fitzsimmons appeared alongside Jenkins yesterday at a press conference to announce Jenkins’ candidacy, The Dallas Morning News reports here.

I sent an e-mail to Fitzsimmons this morning seeking an explanation as to why he isn’t supporting Foster, who’s also openly gay, but I haven’t heard back yet. Coincidentally, Fitzsimmons spoke recently at a forum in Austin about the importance of supporting openly LGBT elected officials, but obviously there are exceptions. Foster was one of the few prominent openly gay elected officials statewide who didn’t attend the forum, although I don’t know whether that’s because he wasn’t invited. The forum was part of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus’ statewide convention.

UPDATE: Fitzsimmons just sent me the following statement, in which he says he’s supporting Jenkins because, “Dallas County government is not a game.”

“Judge Foster deserves praise for taking the initiative to run for County Judge when no else would.  Judge Foster is a kind, decent and honorable man.

“However, Judge Foster has consistently demonstrated that he is incapable of providing the strong leadership we critically need to address the numerous challenges facing county government at this time.

“Clay Jenkins has the leadership skills necessary to build positive and productive relationships with his colleagues on the court in order to move the public’s agenda forward. Clay Jenkins has the ability to comprehend clearly and articulate the many complex issues facing county government. Clay Jenkins has the skills to interact successfully with members of the state legislature and our regional partners to find solutions that benefit Dallas County taxpayers.

“Major challenges are coming to North Texas in the next decade in the areas of health care, human services, regional transportation, environmental quality and resource planning, and economic development. Barack Obama said it best when he told congress “this is not a game.” Dallas county government is not a game. I am supporting Clay Jenkins because we desperately need a dynamic leader in the office of County Judge who can meet these challenges.”

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