Dallas County GOP Chair John Neerman, Dallas County Commissioner Maurine Dickey and Plano City Council candidate Justin Nichols, a gay Republican, were all guest speakers at the Monday, Jan. 28 meeting of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, according to LCR-Dallas President Rob Schlein.
Schlein said a number of guests, including county judge candidate Mike Lee and representatives for Dallas County Sheriff candidate Charlie Richmond, also attended the meeting.
“It is exciting to have candidates come unannounced to seek votes and endorsements,” Schlein said in an e-mail this week. “It represents a further advance for Log Cabin Dallas.”
He added that presentations by the three speakers indicate that the Dallas County Republican Party is becoming a welcome faction within the county party, which in the past has shied away for LGBT issues and organizations.
Neerman “made it very clear that Log Cabin will be warmly welcomed” in the county party, Schlein said. “He understands the challenges we face as gay Republicans because he, too has faced challenges as a Republican Jew and husband to a Baptist woman.”
Dickey spoke at length about the Dallas County Sheriff race.
Incumbent Sheriff Lupe Valdez, a Democrat and a Latina lesbian, faces three challengers in the Democratic Primary. Four Republicans are also seeking the post.
Dickey told the Log Cabin members that the sheriff needs to be an expert business administrator with skills similar to those of an executive in the hospitality industry, because “many of the basic functions of running a jail system are similar to running a hotel,” Schlein said.
He said that Dickey, too, talked about the Republican Party having “a big tent where gays and lesbians are, indeed, welcome. I think she reflects the future of our party and where it needs to head.”
“I am proud that the Dallas County GOP will lead the state and perhaps the nation by actively embracing Log Cabin as a partner in the party,” Schlein added.
Also at the meeting Schlein recapped Log Cabin Dallas’ activities in 2007 in his “state of the chapter” speech. He said the group’s achievements last year included a “vigorous outreach” to the mainstream GOP and to the LGBT community. The group sponsored the Reagan Day Dinner, and nine members met with presidential candidate Mitt Romney at a VIP reception. The group also became a sponsor of the Black Tie Dinner and welcomed “many notable speakers” in 2007, including Mayor Tom Leppert, WBAP radio host Mark Davis and State Sen. John Carona.
“We ended the year with a presentation of Log Cabin’s position on the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions at a joint meeting with North Dallas Republicans,” he said.
Schlein said the group’s outreach efforts will continue in 2008, and announced that the guest speaker for the Feb. 25 meeting will be Carol Reed, the political consultant who helped Leppert win the race for mayor last summer and has been a top fundraiser for presidential candidate Rudolph Giuliani. Dallas County Sheriff candidate Lowell Cannaday will also attend.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 1, 2008