Stonewall Democrats to endorse in city elections

Posted on 16 Feb 2011 at 11:57am

JESSE GARCIA  |  Stonewall Democrats of Dallas

Expired members of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas and LGBT community members interested in joining the organization need to renew or join by Thursday, Feb. 17, in order to participate in this year’s endorsement screening for municipal elections.

Hotly contested races for Dallas mayor and heavily LGBT city council districts 3 and 14 have drawn multiple candidates. Each race will be screened from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 19 in the Rainbow Room at Resource Center Dallas, 2701 Reagan St. Participants voting on recommendations for endorsements must be current with Stonewall membership dues as of Thursday, Feb. 17, per the group’s bylaws.

New or returning members can visit StonewallDemocratsofDallas.org/membership before Friday and sign up for a $35 annual membership. Or you can mail your $35 membership check made out to “Stonewall Democrats of Dallas,” along with your name, address and telephone number, to Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, PO Box 192305, Dallas, TX 75219 — but it must be postmarked by Feb. 17.

Unlike even-year elections when Stonewall endorses county, state and federal candidates in the spring and members campaign for them throughout the summer and fall, odd-year city elections have an abbreviated campaign schedule (lasting less than four months). The Stonewall board of directors saw a need for recommendations to be made within days of the filing deadline and approved quickly by the general membership in order to maximize LGBT support for a candidate.

“We realize that the LGBT vote is critical in city elections that have historically attracted less than 30 percent of registered voters,” said Stonewall President Omar Narvaez. “Every vote will matter. Candidates know that our gayborhood precincts always turnout higher than the county average. If we turn out our LGBT voters like we did in 2008 and 2010, progressive candidates who are pro-equality will get elected.”

As soon as the endorsement screening ends on March 19, a special general meeting will be called to ratify endorsements.

March 14 is the candidate filing deadline for city council and school board trustee races. Since Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meets the next day on March 15, there is not enough time to hold an endorsement screening and ratify those choices at the general membership meeting.

In order to avoid having to wait until the April 19 general meeting to ratify choices (just days before early voting), Stonewall’s board of directors and president have called for a special general membership meeting at 4 p.m. on March 19, at the Resource Center Dallas’ Rainbow Room, immediately after the endorsement screening.

“We want to help our candidates by starting early with our support,” Narvaez said. “We want to invite all Stonewall members to the screening to make recommendations and to the general meeting to formally approve them. At the screening, we’ll get to ask candidates how they stand on issues important to the LGBT community. If anyone wanted to join Stonewall, this would be the perfect time to do so. This is your opportunity to work on get-out-the-vote efforts in the LGBT community.”

The last day to register to vote for the May 14 election is April 14. Early voting takes place May 2 through 10. Stonewall Democrats of Dallas will register voters this Saturday, Feb. 19, from 2 to 6 p.m., in front of Hunky’s on Cedar Springs.

For more information on Stonewall Democrats, visit StonewallDemocratsofDallas.org. The next general meeting of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas takes place March 15, at 6:30 p.m., at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave. The meeting is open to the public, and municipal candidates will be in attendance.

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