12 candidates expected to appear at meeting, seek endorsements
Twelve candidates in the May 12 municipal election including four running for mayor will seek endorsements from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas at a candidate forum on Sunday afternoon, March 18, at the John Thomas Gay and Lesbian Community Center from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Jesse Garcia, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, said there is a lot of enthusiasm building about the municipal election.
“It’s exciting because there’s going to be a new mayor and a lot of new City Council members,” Garcia said. “I think people are going to be interested in it because the future of Dallas is going to be decided on May 12.”
The municipal election this year is believed to feature the largest number of candidates running for mayor in the city’s history. There are 13 candidates for mayor on the ballot.
There are seven City Council seats on the ballot this year that do not feature an incumbent. The open seats are in districts 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 and 10.
The District 3 seat, which is being vacated by incumbent and mayoral candidate Ed Oakley, features the second-largest number of candidates with 10 people vying for it. District 3 is home to a large number of LGBT residents and two of the candidates, Joseph Hernandez and Irby Foster, are gay.
The District 5 race comes in third with eight candidates.
Garcia noted that longtime Stonewall Democrats of Dallas member Buck Massey began doing research on the candidates, but he unexpectedly passed away last week before he was able to finish his work.
“I had to go in last Friday [March 9] and get as much as I could out,” Garcia said. “We’ve invited 12 candidates that are worthy of coming up before us.”
The group researches municipal election candidates to determine which ones are Democrats and gay or gay-friendly.
The mayoral candidates vying for an endorsement from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas are Sam Coats, Roger Herrera, Ed Oakley and Don Hill. Herrera and Oakley are gay.
The candidate forum will also feature four candidates running for the District 3 seat. They are Rena Renfroe, Joe Tave, Joseph Hernandez and Irby Foster.
Four other candidates will also seek endorsements for their races. They are gay candidate John McClelland, of District 12; Angela Hunt, of District 14; Pauline Medrano, of District 2 and Steve Salazar, of District 6.
Each candidate will be allowed to speak for 10 minutes, and then they will respond to questions from the audience for five minutes.
After all of the candidates make their presentations, Stonewall members will select a slate of candidates to be recommended to the club’s full membership for ratification at the March 20 meeting.
Garcia said the candidate forum is smaller this year than during the previous municipal election.
“It’s not going to be as big as last time, but we’re going to have more time to talk about issues that are important to us,” Garcia said.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 16, 2007