A question-and-answer session will include Richard Socarides (former advisor to President Clinton) and newly crowned Miss New York Claire Buffie (she is running on a gay rights platform for the first time in Miss America history)."
Equality Illionois PAC endorses Illinois Governor Pat Quinn: "The endorsement highlights what gay rights advocates say are significant differences between Quinn and his Republican opponent, state Sen. Bill Brady, on issues of importance to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
'I think this is one of the most important elections ever, because the choices for our community are markedly different. We have a guy who opposed fairness and equality and a guy who spent his entire career standing up for all Illinoisans,' public policy director for Equality Illinois, Rick Garcia told ChicagoPride.com."
Target stock sinks after boycott: "Shares in the Minneapolis-based discount retailer have declined 3.5 percent since the morning of July 27, when Target Chief Executive Gregg Steinhafel first defended the donation, prompting critics to call for a consumer boycott. Its shares were off 1.5 percent Tuesday, closing at .98…arget spokeswoman Jenn Glass said Tuesday that the shifting stock price reflects 'too many factors that we can't attribute it to just one thing.'"
OH SNAP — Jack Mackenroth leaves the Gay Games in Cologne with one gold, five silver, and one bronze medal. "I guess it was the year of the silver medal for me. That’s OK. Silver goes better with my skin tone anyway."
Judicial candidates John Loza, Tonya Parker among 4 LGBTs running in local races in 2010
By John Wright | News Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
IN THE RUNNING | Dallas County District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons, clockwise from top left, County Judge Jim Foster, attorney Tonya Parker and former Councilman John Loza are LGBT candidates who plan to run in Dallas County elections in 2010. The filing period ends Jan. 4.
Dallas County has had its share of openly gay elected officials, from Sheriff Lupe Valdez to District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons to County Judge Jim Foster.
But while Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, is called a “judge,” he’s not a member of the judiciary, to which the county’s voters have never elected an out LGBT person.
Two Democrats running in 2010 — John Loza and Tonya Parker — are hoping to change that.
“This is the first election cycle that I can remember where we’ve had openly gay candidates for the judiciary,” said Loza, a former Dallas City Councilman who’s been involved in local LGBT politics for decades. “It’s probably long overdue, to be honest with you.”
Dallas County’s Jerry Birdwell became the first openly gay judge in Texas when he was appointed by Gov. Ann Richards in 1992. But after coming under attack for his sexual orientation by the local Republican Party, Birdwell, a Democrat, lost his bid for re-election later that year.
Also in the November 1992 election, Democrat Barbara Rosenberg defeated anti-gay Republican Judge Jack Hampton.
But Rosenberg, who’s a lesbian, wasn’t out at the time and didn’t run as an openly LGBT candidate.
Loza, who’s been practicing criminal law in Dallas for the last 20 years, is running for the County Criminal Court No. 5 seat. Incumbent Tom Fuller is retiring. Loza said he expects to face three other Democrats in the March primary, meaning a runoff is likely. In addition to groups like Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, he said he’ll seek an endorsement from the Washington, D.C.-based Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, which provides financial backing to LGBT candidates nationwide.
Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, declined to be interviewed for this story. Incumbent Bruce Priddy isn’t expected to seek re-election, and Parker appears to be the favorite for the Democratic nomination.
If she wins in November, Parker would become the first LGBT African-American elected official in Dallas County.
Loza and Parker are among four known local LGBT candidates in 2010.
They join fellow Democrats Fitzsimmons and Foster, who are each seeking a second four-year term.
While Foster is vulnerable and faces two strong challengers in the primary, Fitzsimmons is extremely popular and said he’s confident he’ll be re-elected.
“I think pretty much everybody knows that the District Clerk’s Office is probably the best-run office in Dallas County government,” Fitzsimmons said. “I think this county is a Democratic County, and I think I’ve proved myself to be an outstanding county administrator, and I think the people will see that.”
Randall Terrell, political director for Equality Texas, said this week he wasn’t aware of any openly LGBT candidates who’ve filed to run in state races in 2010.
Although Texas made headlines recently for electing the nation’s first gay big-city mayor, the state remains one of 20 that lack an out legislator.
Denis Dison, a spokesman for the Victory Fund, said he’s hoping Annise Parker’s victory in Houston last week will inspire more qualified LGBT people to run for office.
“It gives other people permission really to think of themselves as leaders,” Dison said.
The filing period for March primaries ends Jan. 4.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 18, 2009.