Human Rights Campaign's contribution key to goal of state HouseThe city of Fort Worth, Texas has just gained two new LGBT allies.
Human Rights Campaign-backed Democrat Dan Barrett (pictured) has been elected to replace retiring Republican Rep. Anna Mowery in Texas House District 97, beating GOP contender Mark M. Shelton with just over 52% of the vote. Notes HRC National Field Director Marty Rouse, this victory could lead to a gain of anywhere from three to eight Congressional seats by 2011.
Barrett originally ran for Mowery's seat in 2006, losing with 41% of the vote.
"They want change from the Speaker all the way down," said Barrett to the Associated Press. "That was the message from our campaign."
Also, Tarrant County Stonewall Democrat Joel Burns has become the first openly gay public official in Fort Worth, being elected to represent the city's District 9 on the City Council. Burns, who also had help from the Victory Fund, beat Republican Juan Rangel Jr. with 54% of the vote.
"I have big shoes to fill," says Burns to the Star-Telegram. "My goal is to be the kind of city councilman the district has seen in the likes of [former Mayor] Ken Barr and Wendy Davis, by getting up and working hard every day."
"Joel’s election proves that leadership and experience are more important to voters than sexual orientation," says Victory Fund CEO Chuck Wolfe. "The people of Fort Worth rewarded Joel’s obvious dedication to his city, and ignored the tired politics of division. In a year of hard-fought battles in Texas, this is a sweet victory."
Originally published on Wednesday December 19, 2007.