Houston GLBT Political Caucus backs 4 out candidates in city elections

Mayor-Annise-Parker-300px

Mayor Annise Parker

The Houston GLBT Political Caucus endorsed Mayor Annise Parker for re-election, as well as three other openly LGBT candidates in Nov. 5 city elections.

Unlike other cities in Texas that hold municipal elections in May, Houston holds its elections in November.

The Caucus met Saturday and voted to endorse Parker, Mike Laster, Jenifer Rene Pool and Zeph Capo.

Parker is running for her third and final term as mayor. Houston mayor and city council members are allowed three two-year terms.

Laster is running for his second term as city councilman. When elected in 2011, he was the first openly gay man to be elected to Houston’s Cty Council.

Pool is transgender and running for an at-large seat on the council. This is her second try for the position. Like Parker, she is a former president of the GLBT Political Caucus. If elected, she would become the first trans person elected in Texas.

Capo is openly gay and running for Houston Community College trustee.

“There are a couple of other LGBT candidates running whom we did not endorse,” Caucus President Noel Freeman said.

In an email to Dallas Voice, he noted two other races.

“[City Councilwoman] Ellen Cohen represents Montrose, and has always been an amazing advocate for the LGBT community. She is fantastic,” he said. “One person we would prefer to see out of office is [Councilwoman] Helena Brown. She has voted against every HOPWA contract that has been on the agenda, as well as homeless programs and a whole host of other things. She refuses to meet with me or other representatives of the LGBT community.”

The endorsements were made by 150 members of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus. Parker and 25 other candidates attended the meeting.

The Houston GLBT was founded in 1975 and is the oldest GLBT civil rights organization in the South. The oldest organization in Dallas, Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance, was founded about two years later.

—  David Taffet

Editorial in LGBT magazine sparks controversy in Houston City Council District C race

Ellen Cohen

Ellen Cohen

An editorial in Houston’s abOUT magazine (a free glossy distributed at bars, restaurants and clubs) questions whether former state representative, and current Houston City Council District C candidate Ellen Cohen is truly an ally of the LGBT community, as she claims.

The editorial questions Cohen’s acceptance of $10,000 in contributions from home builder Bob Perry during her 2010 Democratic legislative campaign (Perry was a major donor to the campaign to pass a statewide constitutional ban on marriage equality in 2005) and her record on LGBT issues while in Austin. In the two weeks since abOUT published the editorial, written under the nom de plume “Jack H,” the issue has snowballed, causing some to question abOUT’s connections to another District C candidate, and leading to a police complaint against the president of the city’s oldest LGBT organization.

Cohen acknowledges that she received the contribution from Perry but says: “I’ve never met him, he’s never asked me for anything. I am a huge supporter of the LGBT community, and have been since long before I ran for office.” As executive director of the Houston chapter of the American Jewish Committee, Cohen was a vocal supporter of efforts in the ’80s to obtain same-sex partner benefits for city of Houston employees. “Bob Perry contributed to me. I accepted the donation,” continued Cohen.

—  admin