John Loza (D)
Born August 8, 1963
City Councilmember, District 12
Elected May 1997
Re-elected 1999, 2001
Appointed Deputy Mayor Pro Tem June 2001
Though Dallas’ City Council seats are non-partisan, John Loza’s Republican Party affiliation, then switch to Democrat, gained wide media coverage. In his first election he had strong support from the Log Cabin Republicans and won with a comfortable margin despite being outspent 3-1.
News article about John Loza
Log Cabin's Loza is Now a Democrat
by Todd Gillman
Dallas Morning News, September 26, 2000
Two years ago, the Texas GOP shunned a group of gay and lesbian party members at its annual convention, likening them to child molesters and cross-dressers. Dallas City Council member John Loza took center stage at a protest rally to denounce the party - and to vow that he'd seek change from within its tent.
"Don't back down until we take back this party from the extremists," he exhorted a hundred fellow members of Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of gay party members.
On Sunday, however, Mr. Loza told a Dallas gay pride rally that he could no longer remain a loyal Republican. He is now a Democrat.
"I don't know that I would necessarily call it a hopeless case," he said Monday, referring to his former party. But, he said, on the issues of equal rights for gays and lesbians and ethnic minorities, and on immigration, "I don't see that there's a lot of movement there that gives me cause for optimism."
The two-term council member voted in the March Democratic primary. He didn't make his party switch public, however, until a Sunday rally at Lee Park after the Alan Ross Texas Freedom Parade. City Council races are nonpartisan.
Some gay Republicans were chagrined at Mr. Loza's move.
"I'm pretty disappointed in him. He's definitely a Republican at heart on most of the issues," said James Campbell, past president of the Dallas Log Cabin branch, which backed Mr. Loza's council bids.
"I think he's had a lot of pressure on him within the gay community. They're predominantly Democrats," Mr. Campbell said. "They don't understand that, for the gay community to have clout, you have to have people in both parties.
"For anybody who really wants a future in Texas of any kind of higher office, which I think he does, the Republican Party, especially in Dallas, is the place to be."
Mr. Loza said he'll seek re-election to the City Council next spring. But he didn't rule out a bid later for another office, such as a state House seat.
"The Democratic Party is my ideological home right now," he said. "It's a question of who serves my interests best and who serves the interests of my constituents best."
Mr. Campbell said Mr. Loza may be concerned that, as a Hispanic, he would face a tough fight as a Republican in a partisan contest, such as a legislative race. But Mr. Loza said Republicans have made inroads with Hispanic voters under Gov. George W. Bush.
Mr. Loza said Mr. Bush provided much of the impetus for his party switch, citing the governor's behind-the-scenes opposition to a hate-crimes bill in 1999. Mr. Bush says existing laws are sufficient to punish perpetrators of hate crimes.
"He exercised no leadership," said Mr. Loza, who testified for the failed bill. "I have serious concerns with what a Bush presidency would mean for the groups I care about - Hispanics, immigrants, gays and lesbians, people of low to moderate income."
Mr. Loza represents Oak Lawn and downtown.
"If he is looking for higher office, being a Democrat certainly helps in his district," said Tim McMullen, president of the Stonewall Democrats of Dallas County, the Log Cabin's counterpart. He handed Mr. Loza an application after Sunday's speech.
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