Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has been named chair of the Community Leaders of America, “the national caucus of Republican mayors and city council members,” according to a statement released today (Wednesday, Jan. 20), by the CLA.
“Up until just over two years ago there was no national strategy focused on supporting conservatives running for mayor and city council. CLA’s commitment to supporting these Republican officeholders and candidates is unrivaled, and I’m proud to continue that record of support in the elections ahead,” Price said in the CLA statement. “I look forward to working with my fellow conservative municipal elected officials to take advantage of the opportunities to grow and expand the Republican Mayors and City Council caucus.”
Outgoing CLA Chair Richard J. Berry, mayor of Albuquerque, N.M., praised Price as “one of the hardest working mayors I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years,” and said her “focus on the issues has made Fort Worth a national leader when it comes to health, jobs, safety, and community engagement.”
Price, a Fort Worth native, was first elected mayor of Cowtown in 2011, just two years after a raid by Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission agents and some Fort Worth Police officers on a gay bar called the Rainbow Lounge made international headlines. Although municipal elections in Texas are nonpartisan, Price’s status as a Republican was well established — she had served as treasurer of Tarrant County for several years, and those elections are partisan — and the city’s LGBT leaders initially worried that she might derail progress toward LGBT equality the city had made since the raid.
But while she hasn’t been actively promoting LGBT issues at the city level, Price has pretty much stuck by the promise she made during her first campaign to treat everyone equally and fairly. She has served as grand marshal of the city’s annual gay Pride parade, and last fall helped kick off Tarrant County Gay Pride Week, among other things.
“I am the mayor for everybody,” Price said at Pride Week festivities.
When I got the email with the statement from the CLA, I decided to check into that organization’s mission and goals. After all, Republican organizations overall are not known for being particularly LGBT-friendly. So I sent CLA an email:
“I am editor of Dallas Voice, and I received your email regarding Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price being named chair of your organization. Can you tell me where CLA stands on issues related to LGBT equality? Thank you.”
I quickly received this answer:
“Hi Nash – thanks for the note.
The Community Leaders of America (CLA) is the caucus of America’s local elected Republican leaders with representatives from every state and from communities of all sizes. CLA was created as a direct response to the lack of a unified national strategy supporting Republicans running for local elected offices.
“Unlike their state and federal counterparts, America’s local leaders live and work in the very communities they represent. Their constituents are the families they see in the work place, at the grocery store, or out and about in the community every single day. Choosing to push a problem in need of a solution off to another day, or legislative session, is not an option for these local leaders. They must govern and lead practically, in a principled, efficient, and effective manner. These selfless individuals, and the communities they represent, are the ideas engines that will help propel America down a path where every community has the opportunity to thrive and prosper for generations to come.
“Political and Communications Director
“Community Leaders of America”
So yeah, I still have no idea what Community Leaders of America thinks about us LGBT folks. But I am going to give Mayor Price the benefit of the doubt on this one. After all, she hasn’t done us wrong so far.