Veasey defeats Garcia in District 33

Marc Veasey

Amid endless cheers and applause, State Rep. Marc Veasey addressed hundreds of North Texas supporters at Victory Arts Center as the first congressman of District 33.

Veasey beat former state Rep. Domingo Garcia with 53 percent of the vote for the district that spans Tarrant and Dallas counties.

“I’m honored that you’ve trusted me and I promise you that I will be your voice in Washington,” Veasey said. “I promise you that I will be your voice and we will stand together.”

Gay Fort Worth City Councilmember Joel Burns was among Veasey’s supporters present Tuesday night.

He told Instant Tea that Veasey’s strong record on LGBT issues would be consistent in Washington.

Garcia spoke to supporters at the Kessler Theater in Oak Cliff. Several hundred people gathered there hoping he would become the first Hispanic congressman from North Texas.

Veasey is expected to easily win the general election in November.

More coverage of the runoffs in Friday’s Dallas Voice.

- with reports from Fort Worth by Anna Waugh

—  David Taffet

RUNOFF ELECTION: Early voting puts Veasey, Cruz ahead

State Rep. Marc Veasey had an 8 percent lead on Domingo Garcia with early voting totals in Tuesday’s Democratic runoff.

Veasey earned 54 percent of the vote for the new Congressional District 33 that spans Tarrant and Dallas counties. Garcia earned 46 percent of the vote.

Garcia led in early voting totals in Dallas county with 71 percent to Veasey’s 29 percent. In Tarrant County, Veasey got 58 percent compared to Garcia’s 42 percent.

In the Republican Primary runoff, Ted Cruz was ahead of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst with 52 percent statewide compared to Dewhurst’s 48 percent.

Stay tuned to Instant Tea for more runoff results.

—  Anna Waugh

CORRECTION: Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsed Domingo Garcia in runoff for CD 33

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsed former state Rep. Domingo Garcia in the Democratic Primary for Congressional District 33 and in the July 31 runoff against state Rep. Marc Veasey. A story in Friday’s print edition said otherwise, and we regret the error.

Early voting begins Monday, July 23, and runs until Friday, July 27, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. For a list of early voting locations and times, go to DalCoElections.org or TarrantCounty.com/evote.

Read our full story about the runoff in CD 33 here.

—  Anna Waugh

Garcia to Stonewall Dems: ‘Help me make history’

Dallas attorney Domingo Garcia spoke to an energized crowd at the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meeting Tuesday night about the importance of voting early to help him make history.

SDD endorsed Garcia in the race for the new Congressional District 33. He faces state Rep. Marc Veasey in the July 31 runoff. Veasey spoke last week at the Tarrant County Stonewall meeting. Garcia, who has picked up some Tarrant County support, did not attend that meeting but didn’t have to remind the Dallas Stonewall group about his LGBT support.

While serving on the Dallas City Council from 1991-95, Garcia was a strong proponent of the Dallas police lifting a ban on hiring gays and lesbians and supported adding sexual orientation to the city’s policy protecting employees against discrimination. When he went on to serve in the Texas House in 1996 until 2002, he voted for an LGBT-inclusive hate crimes bill in 2001.

Garcia thanked the group Tuesday night amid loud applause and cheers and said the group’s endorsement helped him survive the 11-candidate primary. Calling it a “turnout election,” Garcia said it was vital for voters to vote in the runoff July 31 and early-vote beginning Monday.

“This is crucial,” he said. “If Dallas can turn out more voters, then we really have a shot at winning District 33.”

Garcia is vying to become the first Hispanic elected to Congress in North Texas, something he mentioned Tuesday as he reminded the audience to help him make history.

“I want you to help me make history as we elect the first Democrat Congressman in District 33,” he said. “That victory won’t happen unless we get out our vote.”

Read more about the runoff for District 33 in Friday’s edition of Dallas Voice.

—  Anna Waugh

Veasey touts vote against marriage amendment, says LGBT community is “galvanized” behind him

State Rep. Marc Veasey addresses the crowd at a Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats meeting July 9. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

With 13 days left until early voting for the runoff begins, it’s crunch time for both state Rep. Marc Veasey and former state Rep. Domingo Garcia to gain voters in the other’s county.

Both Veasey and Garcia were scheduled to speak at the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats meeting Monday night, but Garcia was unable to attend at the last minute.

Instead, Bexar County Democratic Party Chair Choco Meza spoke briefly on his behalf.

Meza, who lives in San Antonio but was in the area visiting family, said she wanted to come speak on Garcia’s behalf because she’s known him most of her adult life. She said she wouldn’t give up time with her family to speak to strangers “if I didn’t believe so strongly like I do about Domingo.”

She reminded the audience that Garcia was “in the forefront in any legislation regarding LGBT issues when he served in the Legislature” from 1996 to 2002, where he voted for a hate crimes bill that includess sexual orientation in 2001.

State Rep. Marc Veasey then spoke to the large crowd of about 50 people amid cheers and applause. A large majority of the audience was sporting Veasey campaign stickers.

Veasey was the top vote-getter in the primary, winning Tarrant County and coming in second in Dallas County.

Veasey said he couldn’t have come so far without the help from supporters in Tarrant County and the LGBT supporters from the county.

“It’s because of you and your belief in me and you being willing to stand up for my record, and that’s why we ran such a good strong campaign the first round,” he said.

Highlighting that he won a precinct in Dallas with the most LGBT families, he said he was gaining momentum among Dallas County voters to secure a win on July 31.

“The LGBT community has really galvanized behind me and I’m really proud of that,” he said. “I want to know that not just because of that but because it’s the right thing to do, that when I go to Congress that you can always count on me to be a strong advocate on the issues that are important to your families and to your community.”

In closing, he reminded the audience of his freshman year in the state House in 2005, when he voted against an amendment to the Texas Constitution banning same-sex marriage and civil unions when others representatives walked out of the vote or voted with Republicans.

“I’ll never forget that day,” he said. “I saw people that quite frankly that shouldn’t have done it, but I saw people walk off the House floor because they didn’t want to take that vote.

“I never skip votes and I can promise you that when those votes that are important to the LGBT community come onto the United States House floor, that I will be there fighting for you.”

A debate between Veasey and Garcia will air tonight on KERA at 10 p.m. with encores played at 7:30 p.m. Friday and noon Sunday. It will also play on KERA 90.1 FM at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Watch the debate below.

Watch The Texas Debates: Congressional District 33 on PBS. See more from KERA Specials.

—  Anna Waugh

Veasey, Garcia at Tarrant County Stonewall tonight

Marc Veasey, left, and Domingo Garcia

Democratic hopefuls for the new Congressional District 33, Marc Veasey and Domingo Garcia, are both slated to speak at Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats’ monthly meting tonight.

Veasey, along with Shane Hardin for House District 93 and Gary Grassia for House District 97, were advertised as guest speakers for the meeting, but the group’s, President Felipe Guttierez, said Garcia confirmed that he would also be in attendance.

Veasey and Garcia are headed to the runoff for the Democratic nomination July 31 after finishing first and second, respectively, among 11 candidates in the primary. State Rep. Veasey captured 37 percent overall to former state Rep. Garcia’s 25 percent.

Both took their own counties with Dallas County going to Garcia with 44 percent compared to Veasey’s 17 percent. In Tarrant County, Veasey captured 49 percent of the vote and Garcia received 14 percent.

The meeting is at 7 p.m. tonight at Tommy’s Hamburgers, 5228 Camp Bowie Boulevard in Fort Worth.

—  Anna Waugh

Stonewall Dems to endorse Domingo Garcia for Congress, Teresa Daniel for Commissioners Court

Group declines to recommend Commissioner John Wiley Price for re-election

UPDATE: Stonewall voted Tuesday night to endorse John Wiley Price and three other candidates who weren’t recommended by the committee.

DAVID TAFFET and ANNA WAUGH  |  Staff Writers

A Stonewall Democrats of Dallas committee recommended endorsing Domingo Garcia in Congressional District 33 and Teresa Daniel in Dallas County Commissioners Court District 1 this weekend — but withheld recommendations in two other key races.

The committee’s recommendations will be up for ratification by the group’s general membership at Stonewall’s regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. The committee interviewed 57 candidates over the weekend from Friday night to Sunday morning. Several races didn’t result in a recommended endorsement because no one candidate received more than 50 percent of the committee’s vote. The general membership could still vote to endorse candidates in those races at the meeting tonight.

Eight of the 11 candidates for the new Congressional District 33 were interviewed, including former Dallas Councilman Steve Salazar and activist Carlos Quintanilla. Fort Worth Councilwoman Kathleen Hicks and state Rep. Marc Veasey were also present. But the vote went to Garcia, based on his record as a state representative and his efforts as a Dallas councilman in the early ’90s to overturn the Dallas Police Department’s ban on hiring gay officers.

Hicks expressed her support for the LGBT community, sighting her outspokenness after the raid on the Rainbow Lounge, which is situated in her district. She said her determination to improve the city and support for a fully LGBT-inclusive, citywide non-discrimination ordinance in 2010 brought criticism and led to her losing the seat of mayor pro tem. Hicks said there have been whisper campaigns about her being 40 and unmarried. She said she is a known Democrat who continues to push for Democratic candidates and platforms in a conservative Tarrant County.

Quintanilla spoke about his work with fighting discriminatory laws in Dallas among the Hispanic community. Sighting his past with fraud indictments back in Chicago for hot checks, he said he paid his debt to society and has risen to the activist and leader he is today. When asked how he would invigorate the Hispanic community based on low attendance at public forums he held before, he said he would continue to go door-to-door and reach out to Hispanic voters through social networking to engage them on issues important to them.

In the County Commissioner District 1 race, Stonewall endorsed Daniel, although each of the other two candidates had supporters among the membership. That district was redrawn to become majority Democratic although Republicans are expected to work hard to retain the seat being vacated by Maureen Dickey.

In the District 3 Commissioners Court race, Stonewall did not endorse. Micah Phillips, who is challenging 27-year incumbent John Wiley Price, was also seeking Stonewall’s endorsement. To make an endorsement, a candidate must receive more than half the votes of those members who heard the presentation of each of the candidates attending in that race.

In their statements, both candidates expressed support for the LGBT community.

Phillips, whose brother is gay, said, “No one should be treated differently.”

Price highlighted his experience on the Commissioners Court including chairing eight of 15 standing committees. But he got the biggest applause when he answered a question from Narvaez.

“Just give me a one-word answer,” Narvaez said. “Are you going to miss Maureen Dickey?”

“Can I use an adjective?” he said. “Not no, but hell no.”

But neither Phillips nor Price received enough votes to gain an endorsement. Voting was split and some members abstained. Abstentions kept either candidate from receiving more than 50 percent of the vote. One member said after the vote that he didn’t want to oppose Price because of his support for the LGBT community over the years, but didn’t want to endorse during the current FBI investigation into the longtime commissioner.

Openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, a founder of Stonewall Democrats, is a Price supporter and was furious about the non-endorsement.

“There would be no AIDS services at Parkland without him,” Fitzsimmons said. “None.”

He repeated a statement Price made to the group, that for years he was the only voice the LGBT community had on the court and that he had always voted with the community. He said that if Stonewall made endorsements based on an LGBT voting record, Price deserved the group’s support.

The committee also didn’t make a recommendation in the Democratic Primary for U.S. Senate, in which former State Rep. Paul Sadler and Dallasite Sean Hubbard are seeking the group’s backing; or in House District 100, the seat covering most of Oak Lawn that’s held by Rep. Eric Johnson.

In Congressional District 30, the Stonewall committee recommended endorsing incumbent Eddie Bernice Johnson over challengers Taj Clayton and Barbara Mallory-Caraway.

Other notable endorsement recommendations included out lesbian Sheriff Lupe Valdez over challenger Charlie Thomas; and Maricela Moore for judge in the 162nd District Court, in a race featuring six Democratic candidates who are vying to replace the retiring Larraine Raggio.

Read the Stonewall committee’s full list of endorsement recommendations after the jump. Today’s meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave.

—  Anna Waugh

Congressional District 33 candidates back ENDA, DOMA repeal at Stonewall Democrats forum

Six of the 11 Democratic candidates for the U.S. Congressional District 33 seat are shown at the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas forum Tuesday, March 27. From left, state Rep. Marc Veasey, former Dallas Councilman Steve Salazar, Dallas activist Jason Roberts, former state Rep. Domingo Garcia, Dallas attorney Chrysta Castaneda and Hispanic activist Carlos Quintanilla. (Anna Waugh/Dallas Voice)

Six of the 11 Democratic candidates for the new U.S. Congressional District 33 voiced support for the LGBT community at a forum Tuesday night sponsored by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

The forum attracted an attendance of about 100, with dozens of people coming and going throughout and standing in the back of the Vixin Lounge at Sue Ellen’s to hear the candidates.

The district begins in southeast Fort Worth area that includes the Rainbow Lounge and cuts through Arlington and Irving before ending in North Oak Cliff.

State Rep. Marc Veasey, former state Rep. Domingo Garciaand former Dallas Councilman Steve Salazar were the three frontrunners in attendance at the forum.

Three lesser-known candidates in the race also participated: local business owner and activist Jason Roberts, Dallas attorney Chrysta Castaneda and Hispanic activist Carlos Quintanilla.

All six candidates said they support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, in addition to passing an LGBT-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act and Student Non-Discrimination Act.

—  Anna Waugh

Redistricting plan could hurt LGBT voters

Map approved by Dallas council would cost community an ally, put heavily gay neighborhood in homophobic councilwoman’s district

DRAWN OUT | Raymond Crawford, president of the Kiestwood Historical Homeowners Association, refers to the area southwest of Kiest Boulevard and Hampton Road as a “gayborhood.” Under the redistricting plan, Kiestwood would be placed in the district represented by anti-gay Councilwoman Vonciel Jones Hill. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

JOHN WRIGHT | Senior Political Writer
wright@dallasvoice.com

Much has been made of the fact that a redistricting plan approved by the Dallas City Council last week could disenfranchise Hispanic voters.

But the redistricting plan, should it be signed off on by the U.S. Department of Justice, could also hurt the LGBT community.

Newly elected District 3 Councilman Scott Griggs said the map approved by the council would effectively cost the LGBT community an ally at the horseshoe because he’s been drawn into District 1, currently represented by Delia Jasso.

Meanwhile, under the plan, heavily LGBT areas of Oak Cliff currently represented by Griggs and Jasso have been drawn into districts that are home to Dwaine Caraway and Vonciel Hill.

“Delia and I have been pretty involved and very supportive of the GLBT community over the years,” said Griggs, who hasn’t indicated whether he’d run against Jasso in 2013 if the plan holds up. “You have two other council members who haven’t shown as much support.

“You are losing an ally,” Griggs added. “Is Dwaine [Caraway] or her [Hill] going to be as open or responsive as Delia and I have been?”

Jasso, who formed a citizens LGBT task force after taking office in 2009, couldn’t be reached for comment this week. But Jasso reportedly supports other Hispanic leaders who plan a lawsuit against the city if the redistricting plan is approved by the justice department.

Led by attorney Domingo Garcia, they allege the plan violates the Voting Rights Act. The plan guarantees that only two to four of the council’s 14 districts would be represented by Hispanics, who account for 42 percent of the city’s population.

Jasso believes she might have difficulty retaining her seat, because the new District 1 would include heavily Anglo areas with high voter turnout, including Kessler Park, Stevens Park and Winnetka Heights.

Openly gay former Councilman John Loza, who’s Hispanic and served on the city’s redistricting commission, agreed.

“I think that map is horrendous, and I’m really hoping that a lawsuit is brought forward based on that map, and I’d be happy to testify against it if and when it happens,” Loza said.

Loza lamented that the redistricting commission spent 95 hours working on the map it submitted to the council. But the council redrew the commission’s map based on what Loza called “a backroom deal,” and the panel’s work went “down the toilet.”

Loza said although his primary concern is Hispanic representation, he’s also bothered by the fact that two of the LGBT community’s strongest allies were placed in the same district.

“I don’t think it’s as unfortunate to the LGBT community as it is to the Latino community, but I think it does both communities a disservice,” he said.

Under the plan, Oak Cliff south of Illinois Avenue is split along Hampton Avenue, with the east side being placed in what would be Caraway’s district and the west side in Hill’s.

Hill is the lone current council member who’s refused to appear at gay Pride or sign a letter congratulating organizers of the event.

Asked in 2009 why she won’t ride in the parade, Hill voiced religious objections to homosexuality, saying she believes that “there are acts God does not bless.”

Raymond Crawford, who is gay and serves as president of the Kiestwood Historical Homeowners Association, refers to the area southwest of Hampton Road and Kiest Boulevard as a “gayborhood.” Crawford counts 15 gay households on his street — Southwood Drive — alone.

Under the redistricting plan, the 400-plus-home Kiestwood neighborhood, currently represented by Griggs, would be placed in Hill’s district.

“The day she [Hill] comes to call to do some door-knocking or to get some votes, whether I’m the president or not, it’s going to be an interesting conversation with Councilmember Hill,” Crawford said this week. “She’ll be in trouble in 2013 based on her previous statements.”

Hill didn’t respond to a phone call seeking comment.

VIEW A MAP OF THE REDISTRICTING PLAN: CLICK HERE

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 14, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

CORRECTION: All major candidates for Dallas mayor vied for LGBT vote in 2002

In my cover story for this week’s paper, I made a minor mistake. Actually it was fairly major. The opening paragraph of the story, as originally written, stated that 2011 marks the first time in history that all major candidates for Dallas mayor have actively courted the LGBT vote.

As former DV staff writer David Webb pointed out in the comments to the story, that’s not true. In 2002, Laura Miller, Tom Dunning and Domingo Garcia — the three major candidates for mayor — all courted the LGBT vote.

From The Dallas Mornings News on Jan. 15, 2002:

Dallas gays and lesbians, who used to hope that they could just find a candidate who wouldn’t be hostile to their interests, find themselves for the first time being wooed from all directions in what boils down to a three-way citywide race – and disagreeing about whom to support.

“It’s the first time I haven’t had to go vote for the lesser of two evils,” said Deb Elder, a Laura Miller supporter and political organizer. “Nothing has piqued my passion like this mayoral vote.”

Put another way, with major candidates Ms. Miller, Tom Dunning, and Domingo Garcia all touting their support for including gays in a nondiscrimination ordinance, a sector of voters that was shunned not long ago can’t lose this time around.

“It’s historic. I knew it would happen, but I didn’t know it would be this soon,” said Michael Milliken, one of the city’s first publicly identified gay appointees. “The gay community is in a unique position this year.”

I had based my report on statements by openly gay former City Councilman Ed Oakley, who called the 2011 mayoral election “a watershed moment for the community” and “unprecedented.”

While that may be true in some other respects, this isn’t the first time all major mayoral candidates have sought the LGBT vote, and I apologize for the error.

—  John Wright