Terri Hodge released, on her way home

Terri Hodge

Former state Rep. Terri Hodge gas been released from a federal prison in Lexington, Ky., and was due to arrive back in Dallas this afternoon, according to a report in The Dallas Morning News.

Hodge, considered to be one of the LGBT community’s staunchest allies during her tenure in the Texas House of Representatives, ended her re-election campaign and resigned in February 2010 after pleading guilty to income tax evasion charges. The charges were filed in connection with a federal investigation into corrupt housing deals involving city of Dallas officials. The main target of the investigation, former Dallas Councilman Don Hill, is serving an 18-year sentence after being convicted of bribery and extortion.

in April 2010, Hodge was sentenced to one year in prison in return for her guilty plea, and she began serving that sentence last June.

Harryette Ehrhardt, Hodge’s friend who is also a former state representative and a strong LGBT ally, told the Morning News that Hodge would serve the remaining few months of her sentence at a halfway house in Hutchins.

—  admin

Former Rep. Hodge reports to prison

Former state representative Terri Hodge
Former State Rep. Terri Hodge

Former State Rep. Terri Hodge, 69, is to report to federal prison in Kentucky today.

For the LGBT community, there is some bittersweet irony in the date.

This week marks the 15th anniversary of DART adding sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy. And tonight the DART board will consider whether to extend the policy to include gender identity.

Hodge was the DART board member who wrote the sexual orientation language adopted by the board in 1995.

A longtime LGBT ally, Hodge resigned from the Texas Legislature earlier this year and pleaded guilty to tax evasion. She has agreed to cooperate in an ongoing case involving 10 other defendants. In addition to prison, she may have to pay $10,000 in back taxes.

Before leaving for Kentucky, Hodge told a reporter she’s not guilty of more serious bribery charges and implied she was set up politically for being on the wrong side of a number of issues.

—  David Taffet

BREAKING: Longtime LGBT ally Terri Hodge sentenced to 1 year in jail for tax fraud

Former Texas State Rep. and longtime LGBT ally Terri Hodge has been sentenced to one year in prison in connection with the Dallas City Hall corruption case, The Dallas Morning News reports. Hodge pleaded guilty in February to tax fraud. She faced up to three years in prison and now must report to jail by June 22. Here’s what she said in court today:

“As a public official, my actions have cast a bad light on many other elected official. What I’ve done has contributed to some people’s distrust of the political system. All I can say is I am truly sorry for my mistakes.”

Hodge was replaced in the Legislature by State Rep. Eric Johnson, who was sworn in last week.

—  John Wright

Eric Johnson becomes District 100 representative

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson was certified winner of the District 100 race and becomes representative as soon as he is sworn in.

In the March primary, Johnson received 75 percent of the vote against incumbent Terri Hodge. He faces no opponent in November and will serve next term.

However, Hodge resigned from her seat, leaving a vacancy. Gov. Rick Perry declared a May special election and Johnson filed for the seat.

As of this week’s filing deadline, Johnson was the only on to file for the seat. Because there was no opponent, Dallas County election administrator Bruce Sherbet declared Johnson the winner. According to the Texas Secretary of State’s office, this can only be done in special elections and is done to save local governments money.

Although the legislature is not scheduled to meet the for the rest of this session, his appointment gives him seniority dating from the 2008 session. Also, he begins constituent services upon his taking office.

—  David Taffet

Watch Instant Tea for election coverage

Vote 2010 Logo.colorWe’ll be live-blogging tonight’s primary election results right here on Instant Tea, so don’t forget to check back when polls close at 7 p.m. Here are some of the races we’ll be watching closely:

1. Openly gay Dallas County Judge Jim Foster, who chairs the Commissioners Court, faces an uphill battle for the Democratic nomination. Foster is being challenged by Highland Park attorney Clay Jenkins and Dallas Schools President Larry Duncan. If no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two candidates will be held April 6. Foster is the first openly gay incumbent previously endorsed by Stonewall Democrats of Dallas to not receive the group’s backing in a bid for re-election. Stonewall, which endorsed Foster in 2006, is backing Duncan this year. Jenkins also has his share of LGBT supporters, including openly gay District Clerk Gary Fitzsimmons.

2. Foster and Fitzsimmons are two of four openly LGBT candidates on the ballot in Dallas County. Fitzsimmons should easily fend off a challenge from perennial candidate Johnny Gomez. Meanwhile, former Dallas Mayor Pro Tem John Loza is one of four Democrats in the primary for County Criminal Court No. 5, where a runoff is also likely. Loza and Tony Parker are vying to become the first openly LGBT candidates elected to the judiciary in Dallas County. Parker, who’s running for the 116th Civil District Court seat, doesn’t have an opponent in the primary.

3. Former Houston Mayor Bill White is the heavy favorite to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. White’s most formidable challenger is hair care products tycoon Farouk Shami. Stonewall Democrats of Dallas has endorsed White. In the GOP primary, the question is whether incumbent Gov. Rick Perry will avoid a runoff against either U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison or Tea Party activist Debra Medina.

4. Rob Schlein, the openly gay president of Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas, is running for precinct chair in his Far North Dallas neighborhood against Homer Adams, the husband of Texas Republican Party Chairwoman Cathie Adams. Cathie Adams, former president of the Texas Eagle Forum, has been one of the leading anti-gay voices in North Texas over the last few decades.

5. State Rep. Terri Hodge, a longtime LGBT ally in the House, pleaded guilty to a felony charge in February in connection with the Dallas City Hall corruption case, and is no longer eligible to hold public office. However, Hodge’s name still appears on the ballot, and if she receives more votes than the other candidate in District 100, Eric Johnson, the Democratic nominee will be decided by precinct chairs in the district. Another embattled Democrat, Precinct 5 Constable Jaime Cortes, faces three primary challengers amid an ongoing criminal investigation of his office.

—  John Wright

Reaction to Hodge withdrawal from race

Terri Hodge
Terri Hodge

Rep. Terri Hodge withdrew from the primary for reelection to her House seat and pleaded guilty to a charge of not reporting about $75,000 in income on Wednesday. Her trial would have started six days after the primary.

The district encompasses parts of Oak Lawn, including the southwest side of Cedar Springs Road.

Stonewall Democrats president Erin Moore said, “We’re sorry to have this happen. She’s been a great advocate for our causes, but she needs to take care of her personal matters.”

For the primary, Stonewall endorsed Hodge. Although it is a procedural matter, Moore said that the board would meet to discuss what happens with that endorsement. She could not change or rescind the endorsement herself.

Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance president Patti Fink said, “I think it’s a sad day for our community because she’s been such an amazing advocate for us in the House.”

Paul Scott, executive director of Equality Texas, said, “We have worked with Terri and she has been supportive and receptive during her tenure. She was supportive of the Resource Center, which was in her district. We look forward to continued support from Eric Johnson or whoever replaces her.”

—  David Taffet

Eric Johnson responds to Hodge's withdrawal from House race

Eric Johnson
Eric Johnson

Eric Johnson, candidate for Texas House District 100, has released a statement in response to incumbent State Rep. Terri Hodge’s announcement earlier today that she is ending her campaign for re-election to District 100 and pleading guilty to a federal criminal charge in connection with the Dallas City Hall corruption scandal. (Read Hodge’s statement here.)

In his statement, Johnson thanked Hodge for her 14 years’ of service to the people of District 14, and promised to “continue to keep Ms. Hodge and her family in our prayers.” He also called on Democrats to “come together as a party, as a district and as a city to achieve the improvements House District 100 so desperately needs,” and vowed to continue to “campaign over the next 27 days exactly as I have over the past eight months.”

Read Johnson’s statement in its entirety after the jump.

—  admin

Longtime LGBT ally Terri Hodge withdrawing from race, will enter guilty plea

State Rep. Terri Hodge in Dallas' gay Pride parade last year. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)
State Rep. Terri Hodge in Dallas’ gay Pride parade last year. (John Wright/Dallas Voice)

State Rep. Terri Hodge, the longtime representative for District 100 and longtime ally of the LGBT community, has just announced that she has reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney General’s Office to plead guilty to one criminal charge of making a false statement by failing to report income on her personal income tax returns.

As a result, Hodge said, she is also withdrawing from the race for the Democratic nomination for re-election to the Texas House.

Read the full text of her statement after the jump.

—  admin

Dallas Morning News wrong on Texas law in article about Hodge-Johnson race

Eric Johnson (left) and Terri Hodge
Eric Johnson (left) and Terri Hodge

In Friday’s Dallas Voice, Texas House candidate Eric Johnson said District 100 could be without a representative if incumbent Terri Hodge wins. He repeated that statement at a debate at St. Luke Community United Methodist Church.

In an article about the debate, Dallas Morning News reporter Gromer Jeffers Jr. said Johnson’s “facts weren’t quite right” — meaning that the Dallas Voice got it wrong as well.

Well, not according former Dallas County Democratic Chair Susan Hays or the Texas Secretary of State’s Office.

Hays agreed with what I wrote and contradicts The Morning News.

She said, “The statement that Johnson was ‘incorrect’ about what happens if Hodge is convicted of felony bribery is incorrect.”

—  David Taffet

Bill White to address Stonewall Dems tonight, when group also votes on 2010 endorsements

Hank Gilbert, who's running for agriculture commissioner, supports full equality for LGBT people, including same-sex marriage.

Hank Gilbert, who’s running for agriculture commissioner, says he supports full equality for LGBT people. Gilbert, who faces Kinky Friedman in the March 2 primary, received a unanimous recommendation from Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ endorsement committee over the weekend.

As we mentioned last week, former Houston mayor Bill White, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor, will speak tonight at Stonewall Democrats of Dallas’ regular monthly meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at Ojeda’s, 4617 Maple Ave.

Also tonight, Stonewall’s general membership will vote on whether to ratify a long list of endorsement recommendations for the March 2 primary. Political Director Omar Narvaez told me yesterday that Stonewall’s endorsement committee screened a total of 92 candidates during about 20 hours of interviews over the weekend at Resource Center Dallas. Narvaez said a full list of endorsement recommendations won’t be availalbe until tonight, but they include White for governor, Ronnie Earle for lieutenant governor and Hank Gilbert for agriculture commissioner. In local races, the committee is recommending that the group get behind Larry Duncan for county judge and Dr. Elba Garcia for District 4 county commissioner, among many others. After the jump, more images from this weekend’s candidate screenings.

—  John Wright