Former Houston mayor is seeking LGBT group’s endorsement in 2010 bid for governor’s office
Bill White, the former mayor of Houston who is considered the Democratic frontrunner in the Texas gubernatorial race this year, will be the keynote speaker at the Tuesday, Jan. 19 general membership meeting of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.
Stonewall members begin the endorsement screening meeting Thursday, Jan. 14, and are set to wind up the screenings Saturday night, Jan. 16. The endorsements committee will then present its recommendations to the general membership and the membership will vote on ratifying the slate of endorsements at the Tuesday night meeting.
Stonewall President Erin Moore said this week that "more candidates than ever before" are seeking the group’s endorsement this year.
"We are up to 72 or 73 who have been scheduled so far, and it’s still growing," Moore said Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 13. "We’re not through scheduling yet. We may have to stretch the screenings out into Sunday, although we are really trying to avoid that. We have to get it done before [the Tuesday night membership meeting] because the next time we would be able to vote on ratifying the endorsements would be at the February meeting. The primary election is in March."
Still, Moore added, "It’s a great problem to have. We’re working fervently to get everybody scheduled, and I keep thinking, ‘Wow, this is great!’ I think it shows people are thinking democratically now. And when you think democratically, you think inclusivity, and Stonewall Democrats is part of that.
"This is what we do, why we exist," Moore said, "to get fair-minded, equality-minded Democrats elected. So this is show time for Stonewall Democrats. This [endorsements] is the most important thing we do."
Moore said that White is one of two gubernatorial candidates to have requested a screening with Stonewall Democrats, but that others may have been added to the list since then.
She said the former Houston mayor had been chosen to speak at the Tuesday night meeting "because he asked to come to speak to us."
"I think he [White] is expecting to get our endorsement. But it’s not a shoo-in. He has to go through the process like any other candidate," Moore said.
White had initially planned to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who had announced her plans to leave the Senate to run for governor of Texas. But when Hutchison announced late last year that she would not resign from the Senate until after the health care reform issue was settled, White set his sights instead on Austin.
He announced his candidacy for the governor’s seat in early December. Other Democrats who have filed to run for governor are Alma Luvinia Aguado, Farouk Shami, Star Locke, Clement E. Glenn, Felix Rodriguez Alvarado and Bille Dear.
Republican candidates are Hutchison, incumbent Rick Perry and Debra Medina.
White helped build and manage a law firm before being elected mayor of Houston in 2003. He was re-elected in 2005 with 86 percent of the vote, and in 2007 with 91 percent of the vote.
According to information from White’s campaign, during his tenure as mayor Houston led the nation in job growth. He also led the way in cutting the city’s property taxes for five years in a row and started a special initiative to help coordinate services for returning war veterans.
White received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in 2007 for his work in helping coordinate disaster relief following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike. He has also previously served as U.S. deputy secretary of energy.
Stonewall Democrats meets at 6:30 p.m. at Ojeda’s Restaurant, 4617 Maple Ave. The meeting is open to the public, but seating is limited.
Only members in good standing of Stonewall Democrats are eligible to vote on ratifying the recommendations of the endorsements screening committee.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition January 15, 2010.