It’s a right. It’s a responsibility. It’s a chance to make a difference.
If you’re not registered to vote, it’s too late.
But if you are registered, you owe it yourself to get out of bed early on Saturday, May 12, and head for the polls sometime during the day.
Make some time. Brunch can wait. Shopping can wait. Happy hour can wait.
The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. You can find the time to take part in one of the most important rights you have the opportunity to help decide who will represent your interests.
And there’s probably never been a more exciting municipal election for Dallas’ LGBT community than this one: We are on the brink of possibly being the first one of the nation’s 10 largest cities to elect an openly gay mayor.
It’s never been done before, and it would elevate the stature of our community to an unprecedented height.
We have three candidates in the mayoral race who are members of our community: Ed Oakley, Roger Herrera and Jennifer Gale. That’s something of a record in itself.
But Oakley appears to have the best shot at winning the city’s top seat and if he does, he has earned it.
A three-term City Council member, Oakley has worked hard for all of his constituents. And as an openly gay council member, he has welcomed LGBT residents from all across the city to call him when they need help navigating the sometimes murky and treacherous waters of City Hall.
He has extended the same hand to all of the city’s straight residents.
That’s probably why there seems to be an abundance of Ed Oakley signs dotting every neighborhood in the city.
I know in my Oak Cliff neighborhood, which is not part of Oakley’s district, the number of Oakley signs far outnumbers those of any of the other 10 candidates.
While a few mayoral candidates have courted the gay vote, most appear to have decided there’s not much that can be done to convince LGBT residents to vote for them rather than Oakley.
As a reporter who covers politics, I never talk about whom I am supporting. But this election is different.
That’s why for the first time ever, I am publicly throwing my support behind a candidate.
Oakley deserves your vote. Not because he is gay, but because he has the intelligence, talent, charisma, stamina and heart to lead this city to its greatest potential.
I believe in Oakley and his ability to win this election. That’s why there is a big Ed Oakley for Mayor sign plastered across my fence for all who travel the street to see.
So there you have it. I’ve come out as an Oakley supporter.
But even if you aren’t going to vote for Oakley or one of the other LGBT candidates in the mayor’s race, you should cast a vote for your favorite candidate the one who will best represent your interests.
And the election also includes City Council seats, of which there are many gay and gay-friendly candidates on the ballot. The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance’s political action committee and Stonewall Democrats of Dallas have made recommendations for you to consider.
We have seen over the years that it makes a tremendous difference when we have advocates on our behalf sitting at the Horseshoe, but they don’t get there without our support.
If you’ve lost your voter’s registration card, it doesn’t matter. The polling sites have voter registration lists, and all you need is identification to prove who you are.
If you need help figuring out where your polling site is, there’s someone who can help you. Call 214-637-7937.
So let’s turn out the vote. And take a friend with you while you’re at it.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, April 27, 2007.