Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson on deceased gay staffer Chris Crowe: ‘He never met a stranger’

Chris Crowe (Courtesy of Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office)

Earlier we mentioned that Chris Crowe, a gay staffer for Democratic Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson who also served as president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, died Wednesday at 29.

Johnson, a longtime LGBT ally, issued a statement on Crowe’s death Wednesday night.

“He was respected by his colleagues for his professionalism; he was beloved by many for his generous spirit and good humor,” Johnson said of Crowe. “He was a person who enjoyed life and always had a smile to share. He never met a stranger.”

Crowe was a Kentucky native who worked as an intern for the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund in 2005. According to Roll Call, he studied government and global securities at Johns Hopkins University before becoming a staff assistant for Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. Crowe became a staff assistant in Johnson’s office in 2006, and last year he was promoted to legislative assistant. From Roll Call:

Crowe, 29, had open-heart surgery last summer after being stricken with meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. Friends say he looked to be on the road to recovery, but Crowe took ill last week with a staph infection that caused severe heart damage.

He was on bypass, but when doctors removed him from the machine, his aorta blew and they were unable to stop the bleeding in time.

Originally from Kentucky, Crowe was full of Southern charm and friendly warmth, said Kat Skiles, Crowe’s friend and communications director for the LGBT Congressional Staff Association.

According to Johnson’s office, funeral arrangements are pending. A memorial book in which people can sign condolences was set up today in the Rayburn House Office Building.

—  John Wright

What’s Brewing: Bronx Cafe to close Sunday after 35 years; gay staffer for Rep. Johnson dies

Your weekday morning blend from Instant Tea:

1. The Bronx Cafe, a staple on the Cedar Springs strip since 1976, will close its doors for good after brunch on Sunday, The Dallas Morning News reports (paid subscription required). The Bronx property — four parcels totaling 30,000 square feet — reportedly has been purchased by a sister company of the adjacent Warwick Melrose Hotel. In a statement, representatives from the hotel declined to comment on the company’s development plans because the sale of the property is not yet final. For more, see Friday’s Dallas Voice (no subscription required).

Chris Crowe, shown at a rally in Washington in March, died Wednesday at 29.

2. Chris Crowe, a gay staffer for Democratic Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, died Wednesday at age 29 as a result of complications from a staph infection that damaged his heart, according to The Washington Blade. Crowe was president of the LGBT Congressional Staff Association. Kat Skiles, spokesperson for the LGBT Congressional Staff Association, said: “It’s devastating to fathom an individual as kind, strong and spirited as Chris leaving us due to troubles with of all things — his heart. We send our deepest condolences to his loved ones and family.”

3. A civil unions bill cleared a Senate committee in Delaware on Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Lesislature in Washington state approved a bill to recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships from out of state.

—  John Wright

Bill White at Reverchon Park: ‘We need a governor who will treat everybody with respect’

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill White addresses the media in the gym inside the Reverchon Park Recreation Center in Dallas on Tuesday.

During an Election Day campaign stop at one of Dallas’ most heavily gay precincts, Democrat Bill White made a final plea Tuesday for voters in North Texas to get out to the polls.

Flanked by Dallas Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson and a dozen volunteers who lined the bleachers behind him, White addressed a handful of TV news crews in the gymnasium at the Reverchon Park Recreation Center.

“We need a governor who will treat everybody with respect and who will cultivate a culture of respect,” White said in response to a question from Dallas Voice about his message to LGBT voters. “The fact is, Rick Perry helps his friends, his friends help Rick Perry. He appeals to a portion of Texans, and there are places within this community, there are places within this state, where Rick Perry has never visited. Yet there are people who are working hard every day, paying taxes, and they’re entitled to be at the table where decisions are made as well. That’s why we’re going to win this election and make some history tonight.”

Earlier, Congresswoman Johnson addressed frustration in the community over a perceived lack of progress on LGBT issues in Washington.

“Staying home doesn’t help at all,” said Johnson, a staunch LGBT ally. “I think instead of staying home, we need to vote harder.”

Asked whether she’s confident about the outcome of her race against Republican Stephen Broden, Johnson said: “If I get a majority, I’ll be so grateful. If I don’t, I’ll retire.”

Neil Emmons, an openly gay former Dallas city plan commissioner who helped organized White’s appearance, said the precinct was a “natural choice” for the event, in part due to its high concentrations of Hispanic and LGBT voters.

“This precinct represents the future of Texas,” Emmons said.

—  John Wright

Eddie Bernice Johnson at Stonewall Democrats, and The DMN’s big Stephen Broden cover-up

We’ve had some difficulty posting the above clip of Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson speaking at Stonewall Democrats of Dallas on Tuesday, Oct. 19. Then again, if we had posted it last week as originally intended, we wouldn’t have been able to talk about Republican challenger Stephen Broden’s comments two days later saying that a violent overthrow of the government is “on the table” if this year’s elections don’t produce a change in leadership in Washington. Broden, a member of the Tea Party, told WFAA-TV reporter Brad Watson that a violent overthrow is “not the first option,” but is “on the table.”

“We have a constitutional remedy,” Broden told Watson. “And the Framers say if that don’t work, revolution.”

Doesn’t Broden, who’s African-American, realize that if the Tea Party were to take over, racial minorities would be in serious danger? The sad thing is, many in the Tea Party likely agree with Broden. What’s also sad is that The Dallas Morning News had endorsed Broden.

Well, a day later Broden backed away from his comments, and The DMN retracted its endorsement. “In 2010, the only way to bring about change is through the ballot box,” Broden insisted.

The DMN went on to say that its editorial board had decided to withdraw its recommendation of Broden in the race against Johnson, and instead was making no endorsement. Do you mean to tell us that they just now discovered that Broden is a total nutjob? Check out this passage from The DMN’s story:

As Broden’s interview drew more attention, other details of his background emerged Friday.

He confirmed having been arrested in May 2009 outside the White House. According to the Christian Broadcasting Network, he was praying in a restricted area and was cited for failing to obey a lawful order.

Broden said he was doing so on the National Day of Prayer to protest President Barack Obama’s decision not to mark the day with a public ceremony.

After a series of warnings, Broden and another pastor were arrested. They were released after paying a small fine – “less than $100,” he said.

Wait a second, do you mean to say that The DMN hadn’t been aware that a candidate for MAJOR office has an arrest record? The newspaper conducts backgrounds checks on all candidates, from Congress to school board, but they hadn’t discovered this? Give me a break. They’ve known about it for a long time, but they chose to withhold it from their readers because they supported Broden.

All you have to do is Google Broden’s name and you’ll come up with several stories about his arrest for praying outside the White House during the National Day of Prayer in 2009, in protest of President Barack Obama’s decision not to participate in the event. According to the stories we found about Broden’s arrest, he told the media that one of the reasons for the protest was his opposition to gay marriage:

“We prayed that God would either stay the hand of judgment or quicken the hearts of men and women of faith for them to recognize that they need to come to the streets, they need to come to the public square and make it clear that we are not in favor of same-sex marriage, we are not in favor of this scourge … [of abortion], we are not in favor of the kind of trickery and gamesmanships that are being played in the house of Congress and the house of the Senate. We are fed up, and we are tired of what this nation is doing and what our leaders are doing relative to their role and responsibility for protecting our freedoms.”

—  John Wright

Meet every candidate and their brother at Ojeda’s tonight

With midterm elections exactly two weeks away, and early voting already in full swing, you can bet it’ll be standing room only at Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ monthly general meeting at Ojeda’s tonight. SDD is the largest LGBT political group based in North Texas, and many of its endorsed candidates will undoubtedly be on hand for the last meeting before the Nov. 2 vote. One who’ll definitely be there is Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson, who’s scheduled to speak. Also addressing the group will be the Dallas Police Deparmtent’s LGBT liaison officer, Laura Martin, and Youth First Texas’ Sam Wilkes. Besides, it’s worth it just for the margaritas.

DEETS: Ojeda’s, 4617 Maple Ave. Dallas. Free. StonewallDemocratsofDallas.com

—  John Wright