A campaign advertisement by HISD Trustee Manuel Rodriguez Jr. that highlights his opponent’s support of gay rights is generating criticism days before the election.
Rodriguez, who is seeking re-election to the District III seat, noted in the brochure that his challenger, Ramiro Fonseca, has “spent years advocating for gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender rights … not kids.”
The ad also points out Fonseca’s endorsement by the Houston GLBT political caucus and underlines the words “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.”
Rodriguez describes himself in the flyer as a “family man” who is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of four and the grandfather of five. The ad says Fonseca has a male partner and no children.
“I am saddened that my opponent wants to conduct his campaign utilizing offensive language,” Fonseca said in a statement Saturday. “Over the next few days I will continue to engage the voters of District III on issues that are important to the parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers of HISD.”
Election Day is Tuesday.
The Houston GLBT Political Caucus also issued a statement condemning Rodriguez’s ad and called on the Houston Chronicle to rescind its endorsement of Rodriguez.
“Manuel Rodriguez is assuming the voters of District III share the same bigoted, hateful views he holds,” caucus president Noel Freeman said. “Houstonians have proven time and time again that such views are not welcome in our City, and have consistently rejected candidates who espouse such hateful views.”
Rodriguez said in an interview that he didn’t see anything offensive in his ad.
“He (Fonseca) will be responsible for making policy for HISD, and I as a parent, as a grandfather, as a person who has probably more understanding of what a child’s needs are, just want to give the voters information so that they can make their own choice,” Rodriguez said.
Art Pronin, president of the Meyerland Area Democrats, said in an email to local Democrats that the ad was “utterly nauseating and wholly offensive.”
“All Houston Democrats must rise against this kind of hatred being peddled by a sitting board member of HISD!” Pronin wrote.