Vote for competence and integrity, not just party

Natinsky, Hawk, Lee, DeWitt deserve your vote.

 

Rob SchleinFor too many elections, Dallas Voice readers voted based on the question “Are they ‘with me’ or ‘against me’ as it pertains to gay rights. The main criteria have always been the questions of same-sex marriage and non-discrimination in employment. And therefore, readers aligned with the Democrat Party.

Now that the courts are nearly unanimous in deciding the marriage question, and since major cities and corporations have addressed non-discrimination policies protecting gay people, perhaps it is time to move beyond this traditional paradigm.

I believe it’s time to ask: “How qualified, competent and honest is the candidate?”

The answer to this question does not fall neatly within political party lines.

There are a number of candidates on the Republican side that clearly excel, and I will ask you to avoid your tendency to pull the “D” lever at the polls and to vote for them.

They are Ron Natinsky for Dallas County judge, Susan Hawk for Dallas County district attorney, Mike Lee for judge and Lisa DeWitt for judge.

Ron Natinsky won the endorsement of the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance when he ran for mayor, and he has a proven record of public and private accomplishments.

I have had far too many Democrats contact me to ask about Ron because they are unimpressed with Clay Jenkins’ Ebola preparedness, the quality of his communication skills during broadcast interviews and his desire to bring thousands of illegal immigrant children to Dallas.

But aside from Ebola, Clay just isn’t working well for Dallas County. The New Parkland Hospital is already a budget mess, and the hiring of a $1 million-a-year salaried director is questionable. If you are concerned with income inequality, that should “rankle your feathers.”

More importantly, Dallas area growth hasn’t come to Dallas County because Clay Jenkins doesn’t know how to attract businesses to our county, and how to avoid the northern county migration.

Susan Hawk has an impeccable reputation and the experience of a prosecuting attorney.  She can restore morale and proficiency in the office of the district attorney.

Craig Watkins, on the other hand, has lost all integrity. Are you really okay with the idea that he uses forfeiture funds for personal purposes?

Forget whether he is “pro-gay” or not,, he has a reputation for being a bully. He fired one well-regarded attorney in his office just for attending a GOP political function. This is the kind of bullying gays should abhor.

Mike Lee is running against Sally Montgomery. It’s one thing to have different views on politics. But it’s quite another to make rulings from the bench that have no basis in law.

The Dallas Observer rated Sally “The Worst Judge in Texas,” and wrote that the 5th Court of Appeals is very busy undoing her decisions. The Dallas Morning News editorial board, once referred to her as “arrogant and capricious.”

And, let’s not forget Lisa DeWitt, who is on the leadership team of the local Log Cabin Republicans chapter.

Are there Democrats worthy of Republican consideration?

Yes. I’m likely voting Democrat in these races:

• Mike Collier for comptroller. As a former employee of a Big 8 accounting firm from my early professional years, I appreciate the competence of a CPA in that position. The Republican candidate has no such background. It takes more skills than espousing one’s religious faith to run a comptroller’s office effectively.

• Leticia Van de Putte for lieutenant governor. I’m not convinced that Republican Dan Patrick is a good choice for lieutenant governor. GOP friends in the Senate have had less than kind words for him during his primary campaign. Dan is not well liked or trusted among his Austin peers, and I worry that he would become the Republican Harry Reid of our state Senate, creating the gridlock most of us hate in Washington.

• Sam Houston for attorney general. Republican Ken Paxton has some legal troubles ahead as was pointed out by his GOP Primary opponent, Dan Branch, that are very serious. Enough said.

So, I ask all the readers this election season: Don’t just vote for a Party. Vote for competence. Vote for integrity. I am,

Rob Schlein is president of Metroplex Republicans, an LGBT Republican organization.

—  Tammye Nash

Texas Republican platform committee removed worst of anti-gay language

Rob Schlein

Rob Schlein

Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein reported from the Republican state convention in Fort Worth that wording his organization wanted removed from the platform is gone.

“Good news!” Schlein wrote. “Platform subcommittee votes unanimously to remove the hateful antigay language in the platform.”

The removed language read: Homosexuality ― We affirm that the practice of homosexuality tears at the fabric of society and contributes to the breakdown of the family unit. Homosexual behavior is contrary to the fundamental, unchanging truths that have been ordained by God, recognized by our country’s founders, and shared by the majority of Texans.

The platform has to be approved by the convention, but Schlein said the chair supports the removal of the language.

“We even got an apology from the subcommittee chair about the language,” Schlein said.

—  David Taffet

Not a good night for incumbents in Dallas County or Texas

John Carona

State Sen. John Carona

Challengers did unusually well against incumbents in both the Democratic and Republican primaries on Tuesday.

Several members of the Texas House and Senate will not be returning.

Sen. John Carona, whose district includes parts of Oak Lawn, lost his bid for re-election to tea party favorite Don Huffhines. Carona, a moderate Republican, has served in the Legislature since 1990.

Staunch LGBT ally Rep. Lon Burnam of Fort Worth lost his bid for re-election to Ramon Romero who has no connection to the Democratic Party and has mostly donated to Republicans, according to the Burnt Orange Report. Burnam has the endorsement of all Democratic groups, including Hispanic groups.

Rep. Linda Harper-Brown, an Irving Republican, lost her bid for re-election to tea party favorite Rodney Anderson. During redistricting, Harper-Brown and Anderson were drawn into the same district. Anderson decided to sit out the last election.

Arlington Republican Diane Patrick lost her bid for re-election to Tony Tinderholt. Patrick was the author of the final anti-bullying bill that passed the Legislature in 2011. Among Tinderholt’s complaints against Patrick is a bill she authored that would have required kindergarten children to have a dental exam before entering first grade. He’s running on a platform of securing the border, gun rights and fighting Obamacare and abortion and an almost cartoonish picture on his homepage shows him with his buxom blond wife, a former Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, in a tight red sweater.

Matt Rinaldi beat Carrollton Rep. Bennett Ratliff. Rinaldi is endorsed by Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shakelford, Texas Home School Coalition and Texas Values President Joanathan Saenz.

In other races, former Dallas City Councilwoman Linda Koop edged out Rep. Stefani Carter. Koop didn’t receive 50 percent of the vote, so they will face off in a runoff.

State District Judge Lena Levario is one of a number of incumbent Democratic judges who lost their primary races on Tuesday. Levario held District Attorney Craig Watkins in contempt of court last March. He was later acquitted, but his prosecutor, Tammy Kemp, challenged Levario, raised twice as much money and won the primary.

Other local judges were defeated for r-eelection by Watkins prosecutors. The list of defeated incumbents includes Lori Chrisman Hockett, Andy Chatham, Carlos Cortez, Marty Lowy, Larry Mitchell, Bill Mazur, Michael E. Miller and Chris Wilmoth.

In the Republican race for lieutenant governor, incumbent David Dewhurst received only 28 percent of the vote. Sen Dan Patrick polled 43 percent. They face each other in a runoff.

Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein lost his bid for re-election as Republican Precinct Chair 2069. Former Stonewall Democrats President Omar Narvaez lost his race for re-election as Democratic Precinct Chair 2062.

—  David Taffet

Dallas County Republican Party chair to address gay GOP group tonight

Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Wade Emmert, right, and Metroplex Republicans Dallas President Rob Schlein

Say what you want about GOProud affiliate Metroplex Republicans Dallas — and we’re sure many of our readers have plenty to say — but the local LGBT Republican group does consistently manage to bring in high-profile speakers, which, in Texas, seems like an accomplishment in itself.

Back in April, Metroplex Republicans hosted gay Arizona Sheriff Paul Babeu — who later, despite dropping out of his congressional race amid scandal, quietly won re-election as sheriff in Pinal County.

Then, in October, there was Richard Grenell, the former spokesman for the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations who went on to briefly serve as a national security spokesman for the Romney campaign.

A few weeks after that, there was state Sen. John Carona, who made news at a Metroplex Republicans meeting by becoming for the first Republican state legislator to support pro-equality legislation — before reportedly backtracking and going silent about the matter.

Which brings us to the group’s monthly meeting tonight, when it will host Dallas County Republican Party Chair Wade Emmert, who’ll provide post-election analysis.

“Wade has compiled some interesting statistics about this month’s national election,” Metroplex Republicans wrote in an email about the meeting. “I know many of us are dispirited about the results, but Wade will inform us of some victories that were hard fought.”

It’s not the first time Emmert has met with a gay Republican group — he’s pictured with Metroplex President Rob Schlein above, and back in January Emmert told the Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans: “Don’t let anyone tell you the party doesn’t want you. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not welcome in the Republican Party.”

And on that note, you may now continue saying what you want about Metroplex Republicans. But if you’d like to join them, their meeting begins at 7 p.m. tonight at Mattito’s Mexican Cafe, 3011 Routh St.

—  John Wright

Stonewall Dems to host watch party for 1st presidential debate at Pekers

Schlein.Rob

Rob Schlein, president of Metroplex Republicans, says he believes Romney will win the debate because Obama is not prepared.

The first debate between President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney — which some are calling a make or break moment for the GOP nominee — is Wednesday night in Denver. And the focus of the 90-minute affair will be domestic policy, meaning there’s a decent chance moderator Jim Lehrer will ask a question about marriage equality or some other LGBT issue. Either way, local gay Democrats plan to gather at Pekers on Oak Lawn Avenue for a watch party. From the Facebook page:

FREE EVENT — You know you’re going to watch the Debate between Pres. Barack Obama and that other guy… so why not enjoy it with other progressives and help us cheer President Obama FORWARD!

The watch party will be at Pecker’s 2615 Oak Lawn Dallas, TX 75219. The debate begins at 8CST. We will have some Obama merchandise for donations and a great time will be had by all!

For more questions please contact info@Stonewalldemocratsofdallas.org.

On the gay GOP side, Metroplex Republicans President Rob Schlein said he’s planning to watch the debate at home. Thomas Purdy, president of Log Cabin Republicans Dallas, couldn’t immediately be reached.

“Do I think it’s make or break? I think [Romney is] going to do just fine, and I think it’ll help him a lot,” Schlein told Instant Tea on Monday. “I don’t think Obama’s prepared. He has not done his debate prep, because he thinks he’s all that.”

Sounds like it’s on.

—  John Wright

Gay Republican wins Tarrant County precinct chair race

William Busby, a 20-year-old Republican active in Fort Worth politics, won his precinct race Tuesday night against a longtime chair.

Busby won in South Fort Worth’s precinct 4256. He said he decided to run because the current chair has served for more than a decade and has rarely attended important events and committee meetings in the past year.

While open about his sexuality, Busby said he won the race without his opponent running an anti-gay campaign, despite few gay Republicans being open in his political circles.

“I’m pretty much one of the few,” he said, adding that his stronger presence in the party will help change any anti-gay attitudes. “I think it helps to bring openness to the party.”

Busby is one the few openly gay Republicans elected in Tarrant County, if not the first. And while he won with seven votes in a race that garnered 17 total votes, he said the impact was still important.

Dallas GOP leader Rob Schlein won his North Dallas precinct chair race after beating Homer Adams by five votes.

Schlein said Tuesday night that he was the first openly gay Republican to win contested primary in Texas, but gay Dallsite Paul von Wupperfeld said about a dozen gay Republicans were elected in contested precinct chair races in the early 90s in Travis County.

Von Wupperfeld said he served as a precinct chair in Travis County in the 90s and served on the platform committee in Travis County in 1990 and 1992. He was also elected as a delegate to the GOP state conventions in 1990, 1992 and 1994 and served as the state chairman of Log Cabin Republicans.

Von Wupperfeld moved to Dallas 16 years ago and is now a Democrat. He said Schlein was not even he first openly gay Republican elected in the county, as three men in the 90s were elected in Dallas County – Stan Aten, Keith Pomykal and P.D. Sterling. And while Schlein is the first openly gay Republican elected in at least 10 years, von Wupperfeld said it doesn’t reflect a changing, more inclusive Republican Party.

“The GOP in Dallas County is gone,” he said. “When they take all the hate language out of the platform and stop running anti-gay candidates and campaigns, maybe there’s change. Just electing one gay candidate is nothing.”

—  Dallasvoice

Rob Schlein beats Homer Adams in N. Dallas precinct chair race

Log Cabin Dallas President Rob SchleinMetroplex Republicans of Dallas President Rob Schlein beat Homer Adams by five votes to win his North Dallas precinct chair – making him the only known openly gay candidate to win a contested Republican primary in state history, he said.

“I’m elated,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Adams led in early voting with 67 votes but Schlein went to his local precinct polling location Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. to talk to voters. He said many people told him they were voting for him because they didn’t like a recent mailer Adams sent out. He said he took that to mean it was likely an anti-gay flier.

By the end of the day, Schlein said he was up by 72 votes, leading to a final count of 256 to 261. The five-vote win was important to him, he said, especially after losing to Adams by three votes in 2010.

Precinct 1800, renamed after redistricting to 2041, is still in far north Dallas.

Adams, the husband of Eagle Forum President Cathie Adams, known as one of the most anti-gay voices in Dallas, has been precinct chair for the past 12 years.

Schlein said making history shows that his inclusive platform is appreciated by the Republican Party.

“It’s pretty sweet,” he said. “I think it shows the demographic shift that’s occurring so that the Republicans can remain a majority.”

 

—  Dallasvoice

Metroplex Republicans to join GOProud

Schlein.Rob

Rob Schlein

Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, which split off from Log Cabin Republicans amid controversy last year, has announced plans to affiliate with another national gay conservative group, GOProud. GOProud bills itself as “a national organization of gay and straight Americans who seek to promote freedom by supporting free markets, limited government, and a respect for individual rights.”

Rob Schlein, then president of Dallas’ Log Cabin chapter, invited two GOProud leaders to speak at a fundraiser in October. Schlein’s invitation, along with other factors including an op-ed he wrote saying he would support Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president over Barack Obama, prompted National Log Cabin Republicans to de-charter the Dallas chapter. Since then, the chapter has been rechartered under the leadership of Thomas Purdy, giving Dallas two gay Republican groups.

On Wednesday, Schlein sent over a press release announcing Metroplex Republicans’ plans to affiliate with GOProud. From the press release:

“Metroplex Republicans is one of the strongest and most influential local gay conservative groups in the country,” said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud executive director. “We are lucky to add them to the GOProud family.

“For years, Metroplex Republicans have been an incredibly important and influential player on the Texas political scene. They have built an impressive grassroots organization with long-standing and impressive political ties to the state and local Republican leadership,” continued LaSalvia.

“We are pleased to be able to announce our intention to affiliate with GOProud,” said Rob Schlein, President of Metroplex Republicans. “We have been admirers of the great work GOProud has done since their founding in 2009. In just three short years, GOProud has established itself as the leading voice nationally for gay conservatives. They have built bridges in the conservative movement, thought outside the box, and fundamentally transformed how the world thinks about gay conservatives. We are thrilled at the opportunity to join the GOProud family.”

“GOProud has been incredibly selective in addingaffiliates. We want only the absolute best to represent the GOProud brand on the state and local level – without question, Metroplex Republicans fits that bill,” concluded LaSalvia.

In related news, U.S. Senate candidate Lela Pittinger will be Metroplex Republicans’ featured speaker  at its monthly meeting next week. “Please do us proud by showing Lela a Texas-Sized ‘Metroplex’ crowd on Monday,” the group wrote in an email.

In February, Pittinger signaled during a debate that she’d be willing to meet with gay Republican groups, comparing it it to Jesus eating dinner with “sinners.” However, Pittinger also criticized former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert for appearing at gay Pride, saying, “Now while he [Jesus] ate dinner with them [sinners], I don’t believe he marched along with them as they were going down to have an orgy or have any sort of drunken revelries.”

—  John Wright

Scenes from Tuesday night’s kickoff for Dallas’ new chapter of Log Cabin Republicans

State Board of Education member George Clayton

While many local GOPers were undoubtedly taking in election returns from Florida on TV, about 40 people showed up at Texas Land & Cattle on Lemmon Avenue in Uptown on Tuesday night for a kickoff party for Dallas’ new chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. As we reminded you Tuesday, National Log Cabin Republicans abruptly de-chartered, then re-chartered the local LCR chapter amid controversy back in October.

(Now that Log Cabin has relaunched, it’ll be interesting to see how the chapter competes with former President Rob Schlein’s spinoff, Metroplex Republicans of Dallas. And it’s worth noting that for the time being, while some major cities have none, Dallas now has two gay GOP groups.)

Those in attendance for Tuesday’s LCR kickoff included openly gay (and recently outed) State Board of Education member George Clayton, State Rep. Kenneth Sheets and Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Wade Emmert.

“Don’t let anyone tell you the party doesn’t want you,” Emmert told the group. “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not welcome in the Republican Party.”

—  John Wright

New Log Cabin chapter kicks off tonight

Vice President Lisa DeWitt, from left, Treasurer Van Freeman and President Thomas Purdy are among the board members for the new Dallas chapter of Log Cabin Republicans. (JOHN WRIGHT/Dallas Voice)

Three-and-a half months after National Log Cabin Republicans de-chartered the group’s previous Dallas chapter, the newly rechartered LCR affiliate will host a kickoff party tonight at Texas Land & Cattle on Lemmon Avenue in Uptown.

National Log Cabin Republicans booted the old chapter — and its President Rob Schlein — in October for engaging “in a consistent pattern of behavior that detracts from the mission of our organization.” Schlein had invited two leaders from GOProud, a competing national gay Republican group, to speak at the chapter’s annual dinner. He had also written an unsanctioned column published by Dallas Voice saying he would support Texas Gov. Rick Perry for president if Perry became the Republican nominee.

After the chapter was de-chartered by national, Schlein formed Metroplex Republicans of Dallas, which remains active. National Log Cabin, meanwhile, rechartered the Dallas chapter and installed 33-year-old Thomas Purdy as president. Purdy had been on the board of the old group.

“I just felt like it was important that the chapter and the brand continue in Dallas,” Purdy told Dallas Voice recently. “If I didn’t step in, I don’t know who would have. I feel like staying with Log Cabin I’m in a better position to affect change both on a local and national level.”

—  John Wright