First Female Sheriff Elected in Dallas, Texas

Lupe Valdez, a Democratic, Latina, openly gay woman, won the election for sheriff in Dallas County, Texas. The New York Times explains that she defeated her opponent, Danny Chandler, a former chief deputy, by 17,000 votes. Valdez is the first female sheriff to be elected in Dallas County, as well as the first Hispanic sheriff to be elected. Dallas County also elected its first Hispanic district judge, and both are Democratic women. This election reflects a growing Democratic and Latino electorate in one of Texas’s largest urban counties, according to the Washington Post. During her childhood, she traveled and worked with her family of migrant workers. Her mother insisted on her, the youngest of eight, being educated, so they settled in San Antonio. She then worked her way through college, joined the Army Reserves, became a county jail guard, and applied for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. After becoming a federal guard, she attained a Master’s degree in Criminology and worked as an agent for the General Services Administration, the Agriculture Department, and finally, the Customs Service until she retired early to run for sheriff, as reported by the New York Times Valdez told the Washington Post, “It speaks very well of Dallas County, for them to be comfortable in looking at my credentials and feeling comfortable that I could do the job. What does female, what does Hispanic, what does any of this have to do with this? What is important is your experience, your ability, and your willingness to do the job.” LEARN MORE about the Feminist Majority Foundation’s National Center for Women and Policing DONATE to support FMF’s work to increase the numbers of women at all ranks in law enforcement


The New York Times, 11/10/04; The Washington Post, 11/10/04

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