Wendy Davis says she’ll announce possible governor bid on Oct. 3

Hailer.Will

Texas Democratic Party Executive Director Will Hailer

State Sen. Wendy Davis announced today that she’ll make an announcement about her political future — and a possible governor run — on Oct. 3.

The Fort Worth native and LGBT ally was the talk of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meeting Tuesday.

The Texas Democratic Party’s new Executive Director Will Hailer addressed the group and hinted that Davis will run for governor.

Hailer moved to Texas from Minnesota in May and since his arrival the party’s staff has increased from four to 21. He said he expects to double that as the 2014 election approaches.

His experience includes the election that saw the defeat of an anti-marriage amendment in Minnesota by 10 points that led to the state becoming a marriage-equality state within six months.

In his first few months at the helm of the party, Hailer said he’s traveled around the state visiting Democratic clubs.

“People are fired up,” he said.

His strategy to take a statewide office for the first time in 20 years is to do what Democrats did in Minnesota.

“Have neighbors talking to neighbors,” he said.

And talk about the issues. He said Gov. Rick Perry vetoed a statewide Lilly Ledbetter bill. He wants to talk about equal pay for women.

He wants Democrats to talk about healthcare, affordable education, clear air and clean water.

“Talk about our values,” he said. “We can’t let Republicans bully us anymore. We believe in equality and the right to marry who you love.”

He said Texas is not a Red State but a non-voting state and is planning massive voter-registration and voter-turnout drives.

Hailer described the ticket he’d like to see on the 2014 statewide ballot.

“I think we need a woman from Fort Worth,” he said, but then stopped short. “I’m not making an announcement.”

But he said an announcement would come shortly, and it seems it will.

This morning, Davis sent out an email to supporters.

There’s one question I’ve gotten quite often in the past few months. I’ve heard it online, while I’m traveling around the state, from the media, and in my Fort Worth neighborhood: What’s next?

On October 3rd, I’ll be answering that question. And as part of my dedicated network of grassroots supporters, you will be among the very first to find out.

So look for her announcement on Oct. 3. And just an observation: No one does this type of build up to announce they’re not running.

—  David Taffet

Mary Gonzalez to speak at Fort Worth Latino voter symposium Saturday

Just because queer state representative-elect Mary Gonzalez doesn’t have an opponent in November, doesn’t mean she’s not staying busy.

Gonzalez, who came out as pansexual in today’s edition of Dallas Voice, has recently accepted the role of Latino outreach coordinator for the Texas Democratic Party. The job will include planning events like Saturday’s Latino Voter Engagement Symposium in Fort Worth in an effort to help Latino voters get engaged in politics.

“The numbers are there so if we encourage more Latino voters to vote, then we could win more Democratic races,” Gonzalez said.

Saturday’s event is planned in conjunction with state Democratic Executive Committee meeting, but Gonzalez said the response has been so positive that she’s in the process of planning more symposiums in San Antonio, Houston and El Paso in the next few months.

Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa will give a welcome Saturday, followed by the Democratic strategist and MSNBC contributor Chuck Rocha for the keynote. Attendees will also hear from state Rep. Armando Walle on how to motivate the Latino community, and Gonzalez will also speak at the event.

The event is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, at the Hilton Hotel, at 815 Main Street in Fort Worth. About 100 people are expected to attend the event. There is no registration or fee to attend.

For questions or more information, contact Gonzalez via email at mgonzalez@txdemocrats.org or call 512-478-9800.

—  Dallasvoice

Texas Dems add marriage equality to platform

Erin-Moore3668

Erin Moore

A marriage equality plank was added to the Texas Democratic Party’s platform during this weekend’s state convention in Houston. QSanAntonio has the full text of the marriage equality plank:

“Texas Democrats join President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in calling for and affirming equal rights including marriage equality for all Americans. We, along with our President and Vice President, recognize that same sex marriages should be valid and legal in America.

“Texas Democrats support President Obama and the United States Justice Department in recognizing that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and in refusing to defend DOMA in any Federal Court proceeding. We call for the total repeal of DOMA.

“Eight states and the District of Columbia have now recognized marriage equality and have legalized same sex marriages.

“Texas Democrats support the full inclusion of all families in the life of our state, with equal respect, responsibility, and protection under law, including the freedom to marry. Government has no business putting barriers in the path of people seeking to care for their family members, particularly in challenging economic times. We support the repeal of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Texas Defense of Marriage Act and the Texas Constitutional Marriage Amendment and oppose other attempts to deny the freedom to marry to loving same sex couples.”

Erin Moore of Dallas, outgoing vice president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, reportedly was instrumental in getting the marriage equality plank added as a member of the platform committee. The party also reported added a plank to the platform on adoption which states, “We support adoption of children by loving, qualified parents regardless of marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression, and the rights of families created by those adoptions.”

—  John Wright

TX Dem. Party Chairman Boyd Richie supports marriage equality, says TX loves ‘all our families’

Boyd Richie

Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie joined 10 other state Democratic Party chairs Thursday in issuing his support for marriage equality to be added to the party’s platform in September at the Democratic National Convention.

“In Texas we love all our families,” Richie said in a Freedom to Marry release. “We know to build a strong Democratic party and a strong Texas we must honor the core principles of our party and champion the full human rights of every citizen.”

Richie’s support is an interesting twist, seeing as the State Democratic Executive Committee voted down a civil unions resolution in November. When the item came back up for discussion in February, Richie ruled it out of order because it had already been voted on.

Richie joined state party chairs from California, New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont, Wisconsin, Washington, New Jersey and Kansas in supporting the effort.

However, Vermont Democratic Party Chairman Jake Perkinson objected to the inclusion of his name in the announcement because he simple told the organization he supported gay marriage, but not that it should be included in the party platform.

“It certainly was a little bit overreaching to put my name on something that I hadn’t even reviewed at that point,” he told POLITICO. “The whole thing just seems premature…the conversation was, do you support gay marriage? And yes, obviously I do. I said, what’s the next step? They said that’s all we need for now, and we’ll get back to you….that was two weeks ago.”

New York’s Jay Jacobs clarified his name’s inclusion in the announcement, saying he does not think his personal opinion reflect that of his state Democratic Party.

Read the full Freedom to Marry announcement after the jump.

—  Dallasvoice

Equality Texas party platform resolutions call for marriage equality, removal of anti-gay language

Texas Senate conventions are Saturday, and Equality Texas has drafted five resolutions for the Democratic Party and one for the Republican Party to consider.

Equality Texas is encouraging people attending to the conventions to print out and submit the resolutions,

“To ensure that resolutions reach the state convention (June 7-9 for the Democrats) and are adopted, it is important to get as many people as possible to submit the same resolution at each level of the process,” the group writes in an action alert.

Of the five resolutions for the Democratic Party, Equality Texas Deputy Executive Director Chuck Smith said the resolution encouraging nondiscrimination legislation based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression is at the top of the list for moving forward.

“Everyone needs a job and everyone needs to be able to keep a job without being discriminated,” he said.

—  Dallasvoice

TX Dems, GOP agree to April 3 primary

The Texas Democratic and Republican parties have reached an agreement under which all 2012 primary elections would be held April 3, the Houston Chronicle reports. The agreement has been submitted to a panel of federal judges in San Antonio for approval. Below is the parties’ joint statement issued this morning:

—  John Wright

SDEC members, donning gay ‘termite’ Pride stickers, call for Dan Ramos’ resignation

SDEC members wore rainbow triangles depicting a wood-eating termite in solidarity with the Stonewall Democrats during their meeting on Saturday. (SDEC member Erin Moore on Facebook)

Daniel Graney, president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, sends along word that the State Democratic Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution Saturday censuring Dan Ramos and calling for him to resign. Ramos, of course, is the Bexar County Democratic Party chairman who recently compared Stonewall Democrats to “termites” and “the fuckin’ Nazi Party.” Graney reports:

The 110-member SDEC is the governing body of the State Democratic Party and consists of state party officers, representatives from each of the state’s 31 senate districts, statewide Democratic organizations and Texas members of the Democratic National Committee. Many of the SDEC members wore rainbow triangles depicting a wood-eating termite in solidarity with the Stonewall Democrats, which Ramos called “white termites who have infiltrated the party much like termites infiltrate your house.

After the resolution was adopted, SDEC members and guests leapt to their feet with sustained applause and cheers of approval.

As we noted last week, a group of Bexar County Democrats has voted to put Ramos on trial for rules violations. But Ramos remains defiant and says he’s seeking a restraining order against the group. For more on that, check out this report that aired on Fox 29 on Sunday night.

Graney’s press release also notes that also during Saturday’s meeting, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie announced that he doesn’t plan to seek another term in 2012.

—  John Wright

AUDIO: Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos on gay Democrats

Dan Ramos on Stonewall Democrats, homosexuality by gharman

Daniel Graney, president of the Texas Stonewall Democratic Caucus, has been doing a great job keeping us posted on the Dan Ramos situation. If you’ll remember, Ramos is the chairman of the Bexar County Democratic Party who recently compared gay Democrats to “termites” and the “fuckin’ Nazi Party.” Just today, the San Antonio Current posted some audio from the interview in which Ramos’ originally made his anti-gay comments — in response to Ramos’ allegations that the newspaper misrepresented what he said. Also, after the jump are several statements condemning Ramos forwarded by Graney over the last few days, including from state representatives, a Congressman, the San Antonio mayor and the Tarrant County Stonewall Democrats.

—  John Wright

Stonewall protests Ramos, whom Richie says is ‘in desperate need of mental health services’

Members of Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio protested Thursday outside a fundraiser that Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos was scheduled to attend. Ramos didn’t show up, but other Democrats who did condemned Ramos for his recent remarks comparing Stonewall Democrats to termites and Nazis. At a press conference earlier Thursday, Ramos refused the many calls for his resignation and repeated some of his previous anti-gay statements:

Singling out the Stonewall Democrats, Ramos said “they have infiltrated the Bexar County party, much like termites infiltrate your house. They’re trying to destroy what has been around for a long time,” he said. …

Ramos said he supports gay rights — including marriage — but said “I don’t regret anything” about assailing the Stonewall Democrats. Ramos apologized to anyone offended by his remarks, but he rehashed several of controversial statements involving gays.

“I don’t care if they marry each other. That’s not my private business. I do care when they adopt kids that are already traumatized and are coming from orphanages and stuff. And then they wake up in the morning and say, ‘What? My mama is my daddy also?’ That’s my heartburn,” Ramos said.

Also Thursday, Texas Democratic Party Chairman Boyd Richie, one of the many who’ve called for Ramos’ resignation, said he believes the party’s Bexar County chair is “in desperate need of mental health services.”

“I don’t know Mr. Ramos all that well personally,” Richie told Sirius OutQ’s Steve Newman. “If this had only happened one time and he had made a sincere apology, then I might feel differently. But after having had the opportunity to do that, he’s only exacerbated the situaion and made it worse. In my humble opinion, Mr. Ramos is in desperate need of mental health services.”

Listen to the full interview here, and watch a video report about the protest here.

—  John Wright

Bexar County Dem party chair insults LGBTs

Omar Narvaez

Ramos resists calls to resign after calling Stonewall Democrats  ‘Nazis’ and ‘termites’

DAVID TAFFET  |  Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Democratic Party officials across Texas are calling for the resignation of Bexar County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Ramos after he called Stonewall Democrats “Nazis” and “termites.”

On Thursday, March 17, Ramos held a press conference where he was expected to resign. Instead, according to Sam Sanchez of QSanAntonio.com who attended the press conference, Ramos hurled new epithets.

Ramos said gays are like “white termites who have infiltrated the party much like termites infiltrate your house.”

He called Texas Democratic Party Chair Boyd Richie a “racist bastard” and an idiot who is advised by gay people.

Currently there are no rules in place for removing someone from a party position for incompetence, according to Dallas County Democratic Party Executive Director Steve Tillery.

“If he had publicly supported a Republican, he could be thrown out of office,” Tillery said. “But not for just being a dumbass.”

“He’s just ignoring calls for resignation,” said Dan Graney, president of Stonewall Democrats of Texas. Graney is from San Antonio.

The Bexar County Democratic Party has been in turmoil for several years according to Graney. The former treasurer was indicted recently for siphoning more than $200,000 in party funds.

That money came from the state to run the 2008 primary election.

The county chair stepped down in Dec. 2009, Graney said, but not because of the missing money. He said she left to run for higher office and was not implicated in the scandal despite her signature appearing on checks.

Graney’s husband Roberto Flores replaced her and served as interim county chair from Dec. 2009 through the May 2010 election that Ramos won.

Flores did not run for a full term against Ramos. He died in September 2010.

Graney said that Stonewall endorsed Ramos’ opponent in the election for county chair last year, but that Ramos sought the group’s endorsement.

Stonewall Democrats of San Antonio is among the largest Democratic clubs in that city and the second-largest Stonewall group in Texas after Dallas.

“He [Ramos] came to our meeting and answered our questions,” Graney said. “He made statements that he doesn’t condone discrimination.”

But Graney said that Ramos has a long history of divisiveness.

“He [Ramos] was an ACLU board member and was divisive there,” he said.

Graney said that the good that’s coming out of this is all the support Stonewall is getting from around the state.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas president Omar Narvaez said response to the incident shows how far the LGBT community has come in Texas.

“We didn’t have to ask for anything,” he said. “It was already done.”

Narvaez said that before Stonewall even asked for the party’s support, Richie had already called for Ramos’ resignation.

Narvaez said the state party was just following its platform of inclusion.

The 2010 platform states, “We believe in and support repeal of discriminatory laws and policies against members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.”

“It’s part of who we are,” Narvaez said.

At their monthly meeting, members of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas added their official voice to the chorus of organizations condemning Ramos and unanimously passed a resolution calling for him to step down.

Ramos made his original comments in reaction to legislation filed by San Antonio Democrat Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer that would enable a state party executive committee to remove a county chair for misconduct or incompetence.

Stonewall of San Antonio had criticized Ramos’ fundraising efforts and his attempts to change precinct level leadership, ignoring party rules and committees. Among other things, Ramos called Stonewall “90 percent white, blue-eyed and Anglo.” Narvaez, who is Hispanic, took offense. He said leadership in six Stonewall groups in Texas, including San Antonio Stonewall co-chair Eduardo Juarez, are also Hispanic.

The Dallas County Democratic Party called on Ramos to resign. In a statement they said, “His hateful, bigoted comments have no place in the Democratic Party. We are a party of inclusiveness that supports and promotes equality, diversity, and tolerance.” Dallas County chair Darlene Ewing and members of the State Democratic Executive Committee signed the letter.

In building his case against Ramos, Richie accused him of a series of violations in addition to his “bigoted attitudes.” He said that Ramos “consistently refused to follow the Bexar County Democratic Party Rules and the Texas Democratic Party Rules” keeping the county party “in a state of turmoil.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 18, 2011.

—  John Wright