Transgender North Dallas resident hopes to win the SD 8 seat

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Pam Curry

 

DAVID TAFFET | Senior Staff Writer
taffet@dallasvoice.com

Pam Curry is one of two Democratic candidates running for the Texas Senate District 8 seat that includes Frisco, McKinney, Sachse, Plano and Richardson, as well as a small chunk of Dallas north of Forest Lane at Central Expressway.

The seat is currently held by Van Taylor, a Republican who served for one term. He’s giving up the seat to make a run for Congress. Texas Sen. Don Huffines represents SD 16, just to the south. His twin brother, Phillip Huffines, is running for the Republican nomination in SD 8.

Curry has an opponent from Collin County in the Democratic primary, so just winning the primary makes this an uphill fight. “I know from the get-go, I live on the Dallas side,” she said. “It’s a long shot.”

Healthcare is Curry’s primary issue.

“Healthcare was crappy before the ACA, remained crappy, and unless we do something about it, it’s going to remain crappy,” Curry said.

She believes Texas should expand healthcare coverage by accepting Medicaid money to help cover more people in the state.

Curry also supports quality public education. She graduated from Berkner High School in Richardson, where she received what she described as a well funded, quality education, adding, “So it can be done.”

Curry, who is transgender, said she’s only had one anti-trans incident since moving to North Dallas: Someone who manages her apartment complex questioned her “lifestyle.” She responded, she said, by asking him, “Since when is living alone with a kitty cat a deviant lifestyle?” Then added, “and my human kid is doing very well.” (Her son lives in the Bay Area and works in hi-tech.)

Curry is HIV-positive and has been doing healthcare advocacy work for years. She organized busloads of people to go to Austin to lobby the Texas Legislature to become part of the AIDS Drug Assistance Program.

Today, the ADAP program obtains HIV medications at a lower, negotiated price and supplies them to people living with HIV who are uninsured or whose insurance won’t cover the medication. “If Texas developed a program to deal with chronic health problems and focused on keeping people healthy and on the job, it would cost our healthcare system less, lower insurance premiums, and people would take less time off work,” Curry said.

Local control is another issue that interests Curry. Legislators spent quite a bit of this year’s regular and special sessions on issues that took control from local governments in the name of making things uniform across the state. Laws that passed include one that will make texting while driving illegal throughout the state when it goes into effect in September but invalidates all local laws. In Dallas and other cities, using a cell phone in a school zone is forbidden and will become legal under the new law as long as texting isn’t involved.

Curry points out Denton’s fracking ban that the legislature lifted and wondered why it is was so important to Republicans from across the state who claim to favor local control to frack near schools and in parks in Denton.

Curry taught Sunday School at Northaven United Methodist Church for five years and her family has lived in Dallas for generations. Her grandfather owned Schindler’s Bakery on Davis Street in Oak Cliff. She said as a Schindler, a distant relative of the man who saved Jews from concentration camps, “I will never be able to come together with the KKK or Nazis.”

Curry is one of a growing number of LGBT candidates to throw her hat in the ring for public office. To prepare, she’s taking a class on running a campaign given by Emily’s List. She said regardless of how the primaries turn out, she hopes people get out and vote in the general election.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 25, 2017.