4 JUNE 24,2005
www.houstoovoice.com HOUSTON VOICE
Strayhorn announces candidacy by taking jabs at Perry
STRAYHORN, continued from Page 1
The move has left many Democratic
gay activists unsure whether they should
cheer, voice concern or cross lines and
cast a ballot for her in the Republican primary.
Strayhorn is still an unknown on the
subjects of same-sex marriage, civil
unions and equal rights for gays. A call to
her campaign headquarters in Austin was
not returned by press time.
Many gays see Strayhorn as a moderate, since she was a Democrat when she
served as mayor of Austin. In 1984, she
was Travis County co-chair of Democrat
Walter Mondale's unsuccessful challenge
to President Ronald Reagan.
But, her connections to President
George W Bush are significant. Her eldest
son, Dr. Mark McClellan, is the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and
Medicaid Services. Her youngest son,
Scott McClellan, is press secretary to the
Randall Ellis, who recently resigned at
executive director of the Lesbian/Gay
Rights Lobby of Texas (LGRL), pointed
out that, "Every Texas politician who is
successful is connected to Bush."
Ellis said many Texans, gay and
straight, have found themselves fascinated by the antics of the state comptroller.
"I've loved watching her stand up and
call people on stuff," he said. "She calls it
Gov. Rick Perry drew negative comments in newspapers nationwide when he suggested that gay veterans returning from Iraq should find another place
to live if they don't like the laws in Texas.
like it is."
In announcing her candidacy,
Strayhorn did not shy away from criticizing the current governor.
"You know that Texans cannot afford
another four years of a governor who promises tax relief and delivers nothing," she
said. "Now is time to replace this do-nothing
drugstore cowboy with one tough grandma."
Just before Strayhorn made her
announcement, Perry called a press
conference to announce that he was
calling a special session—his fifth since
he took office—to settle the issue of
Legislators passed a proposed amendment to the Texas constitution banning
gay marriage and civil unions and a law to
force pregnant teens under 18 to get
parental approval before seeking an abortion but didn't deal with funding for
schools before clearing out of the capitol
the end of May.
Strayhorn criticized Perry for not
pressing for a solution to school finance
during the regular session.
"A leader does not call a fifth special
session - costing taxpayers another $1.5
million - when he does not have a plan,"
she said. "A leader does not hold our children's education hostage and certainly
would never even allow a discussion about
schools not opening on time."
Officials of some school districts have
said that without a school finance plan,
their schools may not open on time.
Gay rights activists nationwide have
criticized Perry for his recent signing of
not only the abortion legislation but also
the proposed marriage amendment at an
evangelical Christian school in Fort
Worth. The amendment, which goes to
voters Nov. 8, did not require the governor's signature.
At the same time, Perry suggested
that gay veterans of the Iraq war find
another place to live if they don't like
the laws in Texas.
Tammi Wallace, who is among the
founders of the Houston Equal Rights
Alliance (HERA), said Strayhorn would
likely prove to be a formidable opponent
"I think a lot of people might want to
discount her, but she strikes me as someone you never want to come out against,"
Texas Rep. Garnett Coleman (D-
Houston) expressed admiration for
Strayhorn as a politician.
"I think Carole Keeton Strayhorn has
shown herself to be an adept and aggressive campaigner," he said.
Garnett said moderate Republicans
who want good government and don't
believe they have it with Perry are likely
to jump on Strayhorn's bandwagon.
"She has friends across the board," he
said. "Perry has played to the political
extreme. Rick Perry is not a friend to the
gay and lesbian community"
Where Strayhorn will lean on that
issue, Coleman said, "The jury's still out."
At a time when a special session had
to be called to deal with the problem of
funding Texas schools, Coleman said,
"She understands that being fiscally
smart is important."
Besides that, he said, "She's extremely
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