While attending my monthly meeting of the Dallas Stonewall Democrats I got the opportunity to meet and talk with State Representative Kirk England of Grand Prairie. He seems like a nice enough guy and I suspect his switch from Republican to Democrat may have something to do with the failures of the Republican legislature to address the real needs of his constituents. However, part of me has to wonder about the timing.
It came at a time when the majority of urban areas in Texas are turning blue and as the Republicans lose favor, mainly because of the Iraq War and President Bush and his cronies high jinks in Washington. It would not be the first time a politician, sensing the way the wind was blowing changed parties to avoid being ridden out of town with the trash. Those old enough to remember will recall Phil Gramm when he was a conservative Democrat. Now that the breeze is blowing blue, I suspect we will se more GOP folks rediscovering their “moderate” side.
The real test for Representative England will be when he has to vote on the tough issues for any politician, and that means things like including gender identity in legislation and assuring gay and lesbian parents that they can continue to be foster parents and adopt. These issues keep resurfacing in the Texas Legislature every year or so. Stay tuned. The encouraging thing was that Kirk England took the time to sit down with GLBT Dallasites and actually discuss substantive issues. Of course the good food at Ojeda’s Restaurant didn’t hurt matters!