Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas president becomes national officer

Thomas Purdy

Log Cabin Republicans of Dallas President Thomas Purdy has been elected secretary of  National Log Cabin Republicans.

That’s a fast rebound for the Dallas chapter that was decommissioned by the national organization in the fall of 2011 after a disagreement between its then-president and the national group.

A year ago, a newly invigorated club emerged with Thomas Purdy chosen as president. Purdy joined the national board last spring and has now been elected secretary.

At a national board meeting held earlier this month in Las Vegas, Purdy said, board chairman Jerry Katlin encouraged him to run for the position that became vacant at the end of 2012.

Meetings are held quarterly in cities around the country, “so we have opportunities to interact with our chapters across the country,” Purdy said.

He said as a Log Cabin member, he wants to serve as an advocate for freedom and equality of LGBT Americans within the Republican Party.

His goal, and that of Log Cabin,  is “to truly and uniformly apply the conservative principles of limited government, individual liberty and personal responsibility for all — repeat, ALL — Americans,” Purdy said.

—  David Taffet

National Log Cabin Republicans adds local President Thomas Purdy to Board of Directors

Thomas Purdy

The National Log Cabin Republicans announced Friday that local Dallas chapter President Thomas Purdy would join its Board of Directors.

“Thomas has excelled as president of the Dallas Log Cabin Republicans for the past year, and we welcome his voice representing the heart of Texas and red state America,” the national organization said in a statement.

The national group de-chartered the old Dallas chapter last year and Purdy, who had served on the local board, was installed as president when the new local chapter reformed at the beginning of this year.

Purdy told Instant Tea he’s proud for the opportunity to serve, writing that his role on the national board will consist of setting long-term strategies and sharing the accountability in achieving them.

He wrote that he hopes gaining experience on the board will make “me a smarter, better leader for our members in Dallas and more effective in advancing the issues of equality that we all believe in.”

“While I am very proud to have been asked to serve on Log Cabin Republicans national Board of Directors, the greater source of pride for me is to just be part of an organization that, while not always widely known, has had a tremendous track record of success in the fight for equality for LGBT Americans,” he wrote. “As a national organization, Log Cabin was instrumental in the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell by challenging the policy in court and working for its demise on Capitol Hill.

“On state and local levels, Log Cabin’s Chapters are also at the tip of the spear. LCR New York was part of a coalition of allies that worked to make marriage equality a reality for all citizens of that state. They were the only partisan organization in the coalition able to lobby Republicans as Republicans and make the successful conservative case for the freedom to marry.

“And here in Dallas, our Chapter has made tremendous inroads with the Republican Party and we are making a difference by supporting openly LGBT and pro-equality Republican allies seeking elected office. We do not-and must not ever-rest on our laurels, though. The fight for equality continues and I am thankful to have the opportunity to sit on the Board and, as a result, be able to stand in the ring.”

The full press release is below.

—  Anna Waugh

UPDATED: Anti-gay mailer targets GOP candidate for Dallas County Commissioners Court

Log Cabin Republicans alleges that Larry Miller, a candidate for the District 1 seat on the Dallas County Commissioners Court, sent out an anti-gay campaign mailer this week attacking his opponent in the Republican Primary, Cecile Fernandez.

Fernandez, a former Dickey’s Barbecue executive, appeared at a Log Cabin meeting earlier this year and subsequently told Dallas Voice she supports offering domestic partner benefits to county employees. The mailer obtained by Log Cabin, shown above, quotes the Voice’s article and declares, “Cecile Fernandez Supports Spending Your County Tax Dollars to Pay for ‘Partnership’ Benefits. … Does Cecile Fernandez reflect YOUR values?”

“I have the unhappy task of informing you that the political tactics used in the District 1 race for the Dallas County Commissioners Court have hit a new low,” Log Cabin President Thomas Purdy said in a statement. “This week, an anti-gay mailer from the Larry Miller campaign slimed its way into the mailboxes of Republican households across Dallas County.”

Miller, a former Hunt County district attorney, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. Last week, Fernandez alleged that Miller planned to send out a “cruel” mailer containing the details of a nasty divorce she went through years ago — a claim which Miller’s campaign denied.

Several Democrats are also vying for the District 1 seat, which is currently held by Republican Commissioner Maurine Dickey. Dickey is retiring and the district was redrawn to be majority Democratic.

UPDATE: Miller said in an email responding to our inquiry: “There is nothing ‘anti-gay’ about our mailer. I do not believe taxpayer money should be used for partnership benefits and my opponent is on the record in favor of taxpayer support of those benefits. I have attended many Republican meetings and met many voters who agree with my position.”

Below is the full statement about the mailer from Log Cabin:

—  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