Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance Political Action Committee issued its nonpartisan endorsements in the Dallas City Council races. Unlike Stonewall Democrats, which also endorsed, but used party affiliation as a criteria, DGLA did not use party affiliation as a basis for its endorsements.
Election Day is May 6.
“With no openly LGBT members currently on the Dallas City Council, we feel strongly that support and advocacy on LGBT issues are key qualities in our endorsed candidates, especially given what the Texas Legislature is poised to do regarding local control,” said Casie Pierce, Chair of the DGLA PAC. “We must ensure that the state does not intervene in our city’s right to self-governance in crafting our own ordinances, which include LGBT non-discrimination policies, but also other broad ordinances such as our tree ordinance and local zoning laws. It is for this reason that local control was a large determining factor during our interviews.”
District 1: Scott Griggs
District 2: Adam Medrano
District 3: NO ENDORSEMENT
District 4: Dwaine Caraway
District 5: NO ENDORSEMENT
District 6: Omar Narvaez
District 7: Tammy Johnston
District 8: Gail Terrell
District 9: Mark Clayton
District 10: Adam McGough*
District 11: Lee Kleinman
District 12: Sandy Greyson*
District 13: Jennifer Staubach Gates*
District 14: Phillip Kingston
* Indicates incumbents who were unopposed and were endorsed by the DGLA PAC in 2015
The DGLA PAC made its recommendations based on the following factors:
- Public statements made by the candidate
- A written questionnaire completed by the candidate
- Private and confidential interview between each candidate and a panel of PAC members
- Input from members of the LGBT community and other sources at large.
Here’s what DGLA PAC had to say about each of the candidates it endorsed and why there was no endorsement in two races:
District 1: Scott Griggs Mr. Griggs is a three-time incumbent on the Dallas city council. His record on advocacy for LGBT issues is outstanding. Mr. Griggs has one opponent, Stephen Winn, who also completed his questionnaire and interviewed with PAC members. While Mr. Winn is very intelligent with unique ways of approaching problem-solving, and passionate and knows his district very well, the PAC had to take into account Mr. Griggs’ unwavering advocacy for LGBT concerns over the last six years. While we wish Mr. Winn the best and we hope to see him again, we felt that we had to endorse Mr. Griggs, given his stellar record.
District 2: Adam Medrano Adam Medrano chairs the LGBT Task Force, therefore there should be no doubt about his leadership on LGBT issues. He has served the task force impeccably, affecting real and meaningful changes in the real lives of city of Dallas employees, residents and visitors. Some of those accomplishments include equal full beneficiary for same-sex partners/spouses of City of Dallas employees in both civilian and police/fire pension funds (before Obergefell); equity in the City’s Family Medical Leave (FMLA) policy for gay City employees and their loved ones; vigilance in driving and maintaining the City’s HRC Municipal Equality Index (MEI) score at high levels; equity in employee health care and other benefits, including fully-inclusive WPATH-driven transgender healthcare benefits for the City’s employees and their families; inclusion of bills affecting the LGBTQ community in the City’s state and federal legislative agenda; clarifying updates to make the definitions for sexual orientation and for gender identity & expression in the non-discrimination chapters (34 & 46) of the Dallas City Code clear for everyone; establishing Task Force committees and City resources to address Quality of Life (including Safety) issues, Policy issues, and a dedicated project to end LGBTQ youth homelessness in the City of Dallas by 2020; presiding over a full month of Pride events throughout the City of Dallas each June. Mr. Medrano has one opponent who did not engage in our process. It goes without saying, the DGLA PAC wholeheartedly endorses Adam Medrano.
District 3: NO ENDORSEMENT The PAC was troubled by this non-endorsement. Incumbent Casey Thomas engaged with the PAC for a conference call in lieu of a face-to-face interview, however, he did not submit his candidate questionnaire. We worked hard to accommodate Mr Thomas’s schedule, and followed-up several times about his candidate questionnaire. Meanwhile, his challenger Joe Tave seemed genuinely happy to receive our candidate questionnaire when we dialogued with him early during the process. However, he never returned his questionnaire and was unresponsive to repeated follow-up calls and emails. It seemed to the members of this committee that neither candidate really wanted our endorsement. Therefore, sadly, we were left with no choice but to make no endorsement in District 3.
District 4: Dwaine Caraway Mr. Caraway served on the Dallas City Council for eight years until he was term-limited and he went on to run for County Commissioner in 2015. This committee has endorsed Mr. Caraway in past years, as he has shown himself to be a strong supporter of LGBT issues while he was on the council. This committee also endorsed the first-term incumbent Carolyn King Arnold in 2015. However, Ms. Arnold did not engage in our process. Therefore, the DGLA PAC endorses Dwaine Caraway.
District 5: NO ENDORSEMENT In District 5 incumbent Rick Callahan faces one challenger. This committee struggled this year to choose an endorsement. Ms. Torres engaged with us but circumstances prevented her from completing our process. However, while Mr. Callahan has been a very good advocate for District 5 and is always an accessible council member who rolls up his sleeves for Pleasant Grove, his non-commitment to supporting or advocating for LGBT issues forced this committee to reconsider an endorsement for him. We will continue to work closely with Mr. Callahan and call upon him to vote with the LGBT community- and he has done so a few times in the past- when issues that affect us come before the city council.
District 6: Omar Narvaez The DGLA PAC endorses newcomer Omar Narvaez. This also was a difficult decision, as Linus Spiller has come before this committee before and he, too, is a strong advocate for LGBT issues. But, Mr. Narvaez’s credentials are unimpeachable as he has worked tirelessly while serving on LULAC’s Rainbow Council, Stonewall Democrats, and other LGBT organizations. He faces incumbent Monica Alonzo and, while Ms. Alonzo has been supportive of LGBT issues in the past, Mr. Narvaez’s very public deep commitment to LGBT issues could not be overlooked. The three other candidates in this race also did not engage in our process.
District 7: Tammy Johnston Tammy Johnston stood out as the candidate who can most effectively communicate and has a clear plan for smart growth in the district utilizing her 20+ years corporate management experience. She will be able to effectively work across the vastly diverse district and jointly with council members north of I-30. It should go without saying that this district race stood upon each candidate’s individual styles of management, their attention to details across the whole district, and their abilities to appeal to and communicate with the widest range of voters. While incumbent Tiffinni Young was endorsed by this committee in 2015 and has appointed members of the LGBT community to various boards and commissions, which honored her commitment to the community, others made commitments to do so as well. All of the candidates we interviewed were very strong on LGBT issues, and this committee has endorsed challenger Kevin Felder in the past. The DGLA PAC strongly feels that Tammy Johnston is the candidate to vote for to bring the development needed for District 7 to prosper.
District 8: Gail Terrell District 8 is held by first-term incumbent Erik Wilson. There were four challengers for this seat, only one of whom completed our whole process. This committee endorsed Ms. Terrell in 2015, she is a tireless community advocate and has served on the Park Board, and it is for this reason that she is getting our endorsement again this year
District 9: Mark Clayton District 9 is held by first-term incumbent Mark Clayton. This committee also endorsed Mr. Clayton in 2015. Mr. Clayton has demonstrated very strong advocacy for LGBT issues during the two years that he has served on the city council. His challenger did not return repeated calls. We wholeheartedly support Mark Clayton.
District 11: Lee Kleinman Incumbent Lee Kleinman faces one challenger this term, Candy Evans. Mr. Kleinman has received this committee’s endorsement in years past. While he makes no bones about the fact that he is a fiscal conservative, he has nonetheless worked tirelessly for LGBT issues. During our interview, we asked him why he marked “no opinion” on his questionnaire where it asked if he would support enforcement of the city’s requirement that vendors seeking contracts with the city have non-discrimination policies in place and in practice. He responded that he didn’t realize we had such a requirement since it does not appear to be enforced. Mr. Kleinman immediately followed-up and asked staff to look into it, and then followed up again when he did not get a satisfactory response a week later. This is exactly the type of advocacy that this committee looks for in a council candidate. While Ms. Evans was very kind and genuine in her concerns for LGBT equality, we simply cannot ignore Mr. Kleinman’s continued support for our issues.
District 14: Phillip Kingston Incumbent Phillip Kingston faces two challengers this term. Both of the challengers completed our full process. This committee has endorsed Mr. Kingston in years past, as he has been an advocate for LGBT issues. While both of his challengers seemed genuine in their concerns for LGBT equality, we cannot overlook Mr. Kingston’s continued strong advocacy for our issues. It is for this reason that the DGLA PAC endorses Phillip Kingston once again.