GALA, the Collin County-based LGBT organization, released a video they made on the bus that left Collin Creek Mall early on March 20 and headed for the state Capitol to join 1,000 other LGBT-rights supporters on Advocacy Day.

GALA remains busy in local politics as well as state.

On March 31, it held the first Meet the Candidate event before the May 6 election. About 100 Plano citizens met at a private residence to hear 15 candidates answer questions relevant to the LGBT community.

“Currently, there are still no state laws that protect LGBT individuals in the workplace and that includes legally married couples. And with the rapid influx of new companies moving to North Texas, we have to look to our city and state leaders to bring about change. Ultimately making it an imperative to be informed about who represents us and our families at the local level,” said GALA’s former president, Bob Shimmin.

GALA’s Meet the Candidate Events were first held in 2007, to give candidates an opportunity to interact with LGBT voters, their friends and their neighbors. “The purpose of the event is twofold — to introduce candidates to our community and encourage our community members to vote,” Shimmin said.

As an indication of the increased visibility and influence of GALA, for many years now, all candidates attend the Meet the Candidate events and a majority fill out the candidate questionnaire. This year, GALA is sending out revised questionnaires, developed by Shimmin and board member Dawna Hubert, to candidates from Plano, Carrollton, McKinney, Frisco, Little Elm, Richardson, Allen and for Collin College Board of Trustees.

“With the vitriol coming from Austin and D.C., our best game plan, as a community, is to focus on local elections and continue to work with the business community to lobby for the passage of Equal Rights Ordinances such as the one that was passed in Plano in 2014,” said Hubert.

A Frisco Meet the Candidate event is scheduled for Friday April 7, McKinney for April 15 and Carrollton for April 19. For more information, visit the GALA website or email