By David Webb Staff Writer

Gay political group screens 12 candidates, endorses 6; weekend voter registration drive to kick off at Crossroads

Mayoral candidate Ed Oakley is one of three gay candidates Stonewall Democrats of Dallas endorsed for the May 12 city election.

Stonewall Democrats of Dallas has endorsed six candidates including Ed Oakley for mayor in the May 12 municipal election.

The gay political group’s endorsement committee screened a dozen candidates on Sunday, March 18. Four mayoral candidates asked for the group’s endorsement.

The committee’s vote for Oakley was an almost unanimous vote, with only one person preferring another candidate.

The committee’s recommendations were ratified at the group’s regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, March 20.

Other candidates receiving endorsements were City Council candidates Pauline Medrano for District 2, Joseph Hernandez for District 3, Steve Salazar for District 6, Angela Hunt for District 14 and Irby Foster for a Dallas County School Board at-large seat.

“Our endorsement committee got to hear from fantastic candidates who are all pro-LGBT,” said Jesse Garcia, president of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas.

Three of the endorsed candidates are gay. They are Oakley, Hernandez and Foster.

Foster had originally planned to run for the District 3 council seat, but he switched to the county school board seat so there would not be two gay candidates competing against each other in that race. The county school board is a separate entity from the Dallas Independent School District that is responsible for running the school bus system for all school districts in Dallas County.

Two other gay candidates, John McClelland running for the District 12 seat and Roger Herrera running for mayor, did not receive endorsements.

Medrano and Salazar are running unopposed, but the gay-friendly candidates who have enjoyed strong support from the LGBT community said they wanted the endorsements anyway.

Thirty members of the gay political club participated in the five-hour screening process. The candidates were asked if they voted against the state’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2002, if they would appoint LGBT residents to their boards or commissions, if they would protect same-sex partner benefits now offered to city of Dallas employees and if they would oppose anti-immigrant laws like the one that was passed in Farmers Branch.

“I’m happy to report that all candidates who attended the screening answered yes to those questions,” Garcia said. “Our committee then had to rely on experience, vision for the city and viable candidacies.”

The candidates were also asked about crime, affordable housing and the Trinity River Corridor Project.

Garcia said the screening process and ratification went smoothly.

“We didn’t have any of the controversy and bruised egos that we sometimes have had in the past,” Garcia said. “We were able to screen the candidates, vote and get out.”

The gay political group will be registering voters at the Crossroads Market Bookstore and Caf? on Friday, March 23, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., on Saturday, March 24, from noon to 6 p.m. and on Sunday, March 25, from noon to 6 p.m.

Early voting takes place April 30 through May 8.

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This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 23, 2007 online for mobileпродвижение в яндекс