DGLA holding forum Monday for Dallas candidates; CCGLA hosting ‘meet & greet’ sessions for candidates in Plano, Frisco
With municipal elections only five weeks away, LGBT advocacy groups in Dallas and Collin County are gearing up to make their endorsements and offering opportunities for the community to meet directly with candidates.
The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance will host a forum for City Council candidates from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, April 6 in the main sanctuary of the Cathedral of Hope, 5910 Cedar Springs Road.
The Collin County Gay Lesbian Alliance will host a Meet & Greet for Plano candidates on Friday, April 3 and for Frisco candidates on April 17.
The Collin County forums are open to the public but will be held at private residences. For locations and details, go to www.ccgla.org.
In Dallas, a total of 41 candidates are vying for 14 seats on the City Council in the May 9 election. DGLA President Patti Fink said she’s unsure how many of the candidates will attend the forum Monday.
"We don’t’ really know who’s finally going to show, but we’re hoping to get as many as we possibly can," Fink said. "So far, we’ve seen a very positive response."
Fink said DGLA has distributed questionnaires to all of the candidates, and the group’s PAC is already conducting private endorsement interviews. DGLA’s endorsements will be released in time for publication in the April 17 edition of Dallas Voice, she said.
The deadline to register to vote in May 9 municipal elections is Thursday, April 9, and early voting begins April 27.
There are no openly LGBT candidates running for Dallas City Council this year, but there are several races of significant gay interest.
Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Elba Garcia, an ardent supporter of the LGBT community, is term-limited and will be vacating her District 1 seat. Five candidates are vying to replace Garcia.
District 13 Councilman Mitchell Rasansky, who Fink said has never been a strong supporter of the LGBT community, is also term-limited. Ann Margolin and Brint Ryan are vying to replace Rasansky in what is expected to be a hotly contested race for the North Dallas seat.
In Oak Cliff’s heavily gay District 3, incumbent Dave Neumann is facing two challengers. Neumann replaced openly gay Councilman Ed Oakley when he stepped down to run for mayor in 2007.
In District 2, which covers portions of Oak Lawn, incumbent Pauline Medrano is also facing two challengers. In District 14, which covers the remainder of Oak Lawn, Councilwoman Angela Hunt is running unopposed.
Fink noted that traditionally, incumbents have been almost impossible to beat in Dallas City Council races, but this year could be different. One race, for District 7, boasts a field of eight candidates.
"I think that some seats may be at risk," Fink said.
Unlike in previous years, Stonewall Democrats of Dallas won’t be making endorsements in City Council races in 2009, according to President Erin Moore. Instead, Moore said Stonewall has sent a list of four LGBT-related questions to all City Council candidates and will share their responses with members at the group’s regular monthly meeting April 21.
City Council races are nonpartisan, and Moore said the partisan group is reviewing its bylaws to determine whether it should make endorsements in the future.
Fink said DGLA will also be making endorsements in races for the Dallas Independent School District’s Board of Education. However, there will be no public candidate forum for school board races.
For more info on the DGLA forum, contact Damien Duckett, chairman of the group’s PAC, at Damien.firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Collin County, CCGLA has sent online surveys to candidates in Plano and Frisco, and the results will be posted in a Voters’ Guide on the group’s Web site sometime after April 15.
"Our membership has come to rely on our Voters Guide and Meet & Greet events to be informed about those who would represent us at the local level. These representatives have more impact on our daily lives than officials in Austin or Washington," CCGLA President Morris Garcia said in a press release. "California’s Proposition 8 has awakened LGBT voters, and we expect a surge in voter turnout this year."
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 3, 2009.