I was pleased to be at the Montrose Center last night to witness some Houston LGBT history Wednesday night.
The first LGBT Political Caucus meeting of the new year kicked off at 7 PM to a capacity crowd in Room 106 of the Montrose Center, and in addition to hearing the speeches of candidates wishing to walk away with the coveted endorsement of the Caucus for their 2016 primary campaigns, the caucus was also having their own elections to choose a new president and several new board members.
The people in the house seeking the Caucus endorsement for their various races included former Harris County sheriff Adrian Garcia, who is now running for the US congress, Kim Ogg, who narrowly lost her 2014 race for Harris County district attorney, current Precinct 1 constable Alan Rosen who is running for reelection, and numerous judicial candidates like Ramona Franklin.
CM Mike Laster, Harris county Democratic Party chair Lane Lewis and HISD trustee Anna Eastman were also in the house to thank the Caucus for their endorsements and their support.
There was also a moment of silence for the late county commissioner El Franco Lee and
But what the overflow crowd was there to see in addition to who would get on the Caucus board was whether current board member Fran Watson would become the first African-American female elected to head the caucus.
I said the first African-American female caucus president because I was advised by Houston LGBT historian JD Doyle that an African American man has served, albeit briefly as the Caucus president
The first African-American MAN to serve as Caucus President was Jim Cotton, from late 1977 until April 1978…he was the 3rd Prez….this is per Scott Tillinghast, who is one of the few who was around and involved to remember…wish I could find a photo of Cotton, but apparently he did not make much of an impact.
When the speeches were over, it was time to get to our historic business. Once the call for candidates was opened, former CM and Caucus president Sue Lovell gave a moving and heartfelt nomination for Fran which was enthusiastically seconded by much of the crowd.
A few minutes later, history was made and Fran Watson officially became the new and first ever African-American female president of the Houston GLBT Caucus. And when the mayor is tweeting congratulations on your election, you know this is a BFD. It’s about time the organizations that lead our community also reflect its diversity. When it comes to one like the influential Houston GLBT Caucus in which its endorsement can boost the credibility of a liberal progressive candidate despite its non-partisan status, it’s past time it happened.
Congratulations indeed Fran! I have no doubts that you will successfully handle the Caucus business and whatever challenge comes your way as the Caucus president.