It’s probably time for LGBT groups to start paving new political inroads to mayor’s office

Posted on 07 Jun 2011 at 10:55am
Mike Rawlings, left, and David Kunkle

In terms of flexing their political muscle, Dallas’ LGBT political activists have shown a somewhat lackluster performance in the municipal election this year.

Businessman Mike Rawlings, the apparent frontrunner in the mayoral race that concludes in a runoff election June 18, failed to receive endorsements from either Stonewall Democrats of Dallas or the Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance Political Action Committee. Instead, DGLA endorsed Ron Natinsky, the losing candidate in the election, and Stonewall Democrats endorsed David Kunkle, who came in second and faces Rawlings in the runoff. DGLA even expressed reservations about Rawlings, and the group has endorsed Kunkle in the runoff.

But Rawlings, who enjoys the endorsements of The Dallas Morning News, most current and former elected officials — including gay ones — and even Natinsky, appears to be headed for victory. Kunkle, the former Dallas police chief who proved himself to be a good friend to the LGBT community, is greatly admired and respected in the LGBT community, but it just doesn’t look like he is going to be our next mayor.

Given all of that, maybe it’s time for LGBT political leaders to start paving a political inroad to a potential Rawlings mayoral administration. We’ve enjoyed remarkable access to the mayor’s office for many years now to our enormous benefit, and we sure don’t want to lose that.

In the District 12 council runoff, there is an opportunity to elect Sandy Greyson, who as a former councilwoman voted favorably on LGBT issues during her previous four terms in that seat. Greyson, who also is endorsed by The Dallas Morning News, stepped down because of terms limits and passed the seat to Natinsky, who also proved himself to also be an ally. Greyson’s opponent in the runoff, financial planner Donna Starnes, is an unknown factor in regard to LGBT issues. As a Tea Party member and organizer, her alliances could possibly put her on a collision path with our community.

However the runoff turns out, the LGBT community seems to be on solid ground with so many political allies already seated, despite the fact that two openly gay candidates lost their bids for council places. But it never hurts to be on the winning side in politics, especially at the top of City Hall

Early voting in the runoffs continues through June 14. You don’t have to have voted in the May election to vote in the runoff. For a list of early voting times and locations, go here.

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