Gay Travis County sheriff candidate talks about changing county’s immigration stance, diversity

John Sisson

John Sisson, a gay Democratic candidate for Travis County sheriff, is up against incumbent Sheriff Greg Hamilton in the May 29 primary. Hamilton is running for his third term.

Former Sheriff Raymond Frank is the only candidate running on the Republican ticket. He was sheriff from 1973 to 1980.

Despite going up against an incumbent, Sisson said that he is faring well and received the endorsement of Stonewall Democrats of Austin.

After two marriages, Sisson came out as gay six years ago while working as a lieutenant for the Austin Police Department. Although he was talked about among his co-workers, Sisson said the talk eventually died down and he does not think his sexuality will be a target in the race.

“I am gay and I’m out. They’re fine with it,” he said. “Back in 1978 when I joined the police department, you just didn’t come out because you couldn’t get backup, they wouldn’t talk to you, they would treat you differently. And so I basically didn’t have enough guts to be who I really wanted to be.”

—  Anna Waugh