Letters • January 30, 2009

Posted on 29 Jan 2009 at 5:03pm

Mitchell should check facts before attacking me
I would like to respond to the letter submitted by Jim Mitchell regarding his issue with me during the 2008 Democratic primary ("Don’t need help from Log Cabin, Stonewall," Dallas Voice, Jan. 23).

Mitchell claims that I attacked Barack Obama’s campaign at a town hall meeting.
Truth: On Feb. 25, 2008, Stonewall held a presidential town hall meeting where my role was to introduce elected officials and representatives from the Obama and Hillary Clinton campaigns, along with the panelists that included a staff member of the Dallas Voice (senior editor Tammye Nash).

Any public verbal attack would have been reported in Dallas Voice. There wasn’t any.  I didn’t even get to ask a question because I wanted what limited Q&A time we had available to go to the audience members.

Both campaign representatives thanked me afterward for the professionalism of the event. And five months later, I was asked by the Obama Campaign to serve as its national co-chair for LGBT Outreach.

Mitchell claims that Stonewall shunned Obama supporters during the primary. Truth: Obama supporters, which included a majority of the Stonewall board of directors, came to general meetings on March 18 (after the competitive primary and caucuses on March 4), and on April 15 (after the heated district conventions held throughout the county on March 29) and thereafter.

If Stonewall wanted to "shun" Obama supporters and the campaign, it wouldn’t have held a presidential town hall meeting featuring both campaigns on Feb. 25 after the organization had already endorsed Clinton on Feb. 19.

Stonewall recognized that both candidates had tremendous support in the LGBT community and it wanted to give everyone a chance to get direct answers on LGBT issues.

Mitchell claims that Stonewall became silent when Obama won more delegates in Texas. Truth: My policy is never to give a "no comment" answer to Dallas Voice. So there was no silence on my part.

The paper covered the primary almost weekly before and after the primary election since the delegate count was not finalized on Primary Election Night March 4. In fact, the official Texas delegate count was not solidified until the Texas Democratic Convention on June 7.

With all the challenges to delegate counts, Stonewall patiently waited until our convention systems would determine the final number.

Mitchell claims Stonewall decided to support Obama only when it became clear he would win. Truth: The board of Stonewall met on May 12 to discuss a third endorsement meeting even before Clinton withdrew from the race on June 7. This board meeting took place nearly three weeks before the Democratic National Committee would decide how Michigan’s and Florida’s delegates would be seated and the remaining primaries were held.

Mitchell has every right to take his political cues from whatever source he chooses. Stonewall Democrats does not exist to dictate to a community on who to vote for.

Stonewall is a vehicle for LGBT Democrats to get active in the political process by volunteering on campaigns, registering voters and raising money for candidates who screen favorably on LGBT issues.  Stonewall members know that LGBT-friendly politicians don’t get elected on pure luck. 

Stonewall Democrats worked hard to unite the community after Barack Obama earned his Democratic Primary victory on June 3. I, along with other LGBT community leaders, helped bring LGBT donors together to raise funds for Obama during the summer and helped get people excited about voting for Democrats up and down the ballot.

Jesse Garcia, former president
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

Setting the record straight on Stonewall, Obama
I would like to make an important clarification for not only Jim Mitchell but for others in the LGBT community as well. ("Don’t need help from Log Cabin, Stonewall," Dallas Voice, Jan. 23.)

First, I can say that Stonewall Democrats does not "tell" you who to vote for. What we do offer is "our collective opinion" via a well-defined screening and endorsement process that is open, transparent, and written into our by-laws.

I can assure Mr. Mitchell that we have many members who wanted us to endorse Barack Obama during the Texas primary. But the fact of the matter is that a majority of our members voted to endorse Hillary Clinton.

Do we expect that everyone is going to agree with all of our endorsements all of the time? Certainly not.

However, there are many people in the LGBT community (and even outside our community) who look to Stonewall for guidance in local, state, and national elections. I frequently get calls from non-Stonewall members asking me whom we are supporting.

Why? Because many people are either too busy professionally, or have other personal endeavors, to get involved at the level of commitment that the volunteers of our organization exemplify.

While I cannot speak for other organizations, I am very confident that Stonewall Democrats performs a much-needed and valuable service to the community at-large, and particularly for those that don’t, for whatever reason, choose to be more active themselves.

This past year we were blessed to have two exemplary candidates running for the Democratic nomination in the Texas Primary and it created record turnout.

Regardless of the candidate that you personally supported, I think almost all of us can agree, however, that the LGBT community overall is much better served and is certainly more respected with a Democrat as president.

Jay Narey, vice president
Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 30, 2009.

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