In Dallas Mayoral Race, Is Angela Hunt's the Only Personal Life That Matters?

Categories: City Hall
Angela_Hunt_biking.jpg
I'm guessing the male "potential candidates" for mayor listed in a Wednesday Dallas Morning News article have personal lives. They're probably in relationships or unmarried singles. Some of 'em might have kids. Others could have ailing or aging parents they're responsible for. Maybe one or two once had or is having stressful marital problems.

I'm guessing that because I don't know. I don't know because after reading the article, the only person whose personal life was mentioned was Angela Hunt's, and she is, for the moment at least, the only female potential candidate. She's got a baby at home. Gromer Jeffers Jr. speculates that her "ability to run an aggressive campaign could be affected by her new family."

Of course, Ron Natinsky or Mike Rawlings might have things going on at home too. But we don't know much about that, because in the very early stages of this year's mayoral campaign, a classically ignorant, sexist political trope is already at work: Women's personal lives matter if they intend to get into politics. Men's? Maybe. Maybe if they really screw things up while they're actually on the job, like John "Is My Dead Wife's Corpse Cold Yet?" Edwards or Larry "Wide Stance" Craig. Maybe if they do something considered deviant, like cheat on their wives or have gay sex, men's personal lives matter.

But for women, having personal lives is the problem. Something as normal and wonderful as having a family is seen as a "con." An actual con! The fact that Angela Hunt is married with a kid is a bad thing. Because while men have women in their lives to take care of all that boring family shit, women are asked to juggle both the public and private sphere. And you'll remember, of course, that the public sphere is jam-packed with things women may not be able to handle because every once in a while, some of them, like Angela Hunt, give birth to babies. Lest us ladies forget our place, The Dallas Morning News is happy to remind us where we really belong.

I e-mailed Jeffers and asked him: "Was wondering what aspects of male candidates' personal lives you felt would keep them from running quality campaigns?"

I haven't heard back from him yet. I'll let you know when I do. But I did manage to get  Hunt on the phone. As usual, she was fantastically diplomatic, thoughtful and intelligent. She says the baby issue "didn't bother me at all."

"I think it's a reasonable question for anyone who has another job outside of their position as mayor or council member to ask if that job will take them away or somehow pull their focus off of their responsibilities," she told me on the phone just now. "That's how I interpreted that question."

And she's right, really, because women continue to be disproportionately expected to do the "job" of parenting, which many people believe reduces their ability to do good work outside the home. Ask any woman who's tried to have a career and a kid or two. The minute they're suspected of missing a soccer game, they're the bad guys. Dads, of course, are expected to stay at the office -- or in political office. For women, there is often expected to be no such thing as a divide between public and personal life.

Hunt brought up another point, though, which I think is important to consider: Dallas is a young city, full of young families. And our elected officials do not reflect that.

"There is kind of a generational divide at City Hall, and there really are not enough folks under 40 pursuing an elected office in Dallas," she said. In that demographic, said Hunt, "a lot of us are raising families" and "I certainly don't think that should exclude us and I think it's a plus."

Continuing our conversation over e-mail, Hunt added: "The citizens of Dallas deserve a mayor who can devote their full time to improving our city, and I wouldn't even be considering running for mayor if I weren't certain I could do so." 

Until we get out of an old-school mindset that wonders if moms can make good mayors, we'll continue to see the same old guard in office. If that's the case, Dallas will have a hard time transitioning into the progressive, forward-looking city it wants to be. 

You might say that I'm getting worked up over a little thing -- though I'm not the only one. And if this is the only time Hunt's family comes up when people talk about whether she's fit to be mayor, then I will be happy to say that I overreacted mightily. But I'm betting this is the start of a long conversation about her ability to be a mom and a mayor at the same time. And that conversation is fundamentally sexist, not only because it presumes that women, especially mothers, do not belong in office, but because it presumes men are incapable of running (or contributing to running) a household. I think the single dads out there take exception to that idea, and I bet two-income, split-responsibility parents do too.

What a horror to think that maybe Angela Hunt's got her family life worked out such that she and her husband can manage their home to their satisfaction by splitting responsibilities. What a con to think that Angela Hunt has been able to balance child care and public office and a marriage, which is more than we ask of most male politicians. Wouldn't want someone like that running for office, would we?
My Voice Nation Help
58 comments
123@noydb.com
123@noydb.com

i don't remember this kind of outcry from the feminist movement when it was suggested that Sarah Palin could not serve due to the fact that she was a mother. there may have been other obstacles for her to overcome in order to serve effectively, but motherhood is not one of them.

Roche
Roche

Or, we can just use this idiotic argument and the Dallas Observer's hard-on for Angela to mask the fact that she is a grumpy, self-marginalized lawyer who has not been able to make a single positive thing happen ... because it requires working with others. Nothing to do with age or gender. All to do with ego. Laura Miller Redux. Good luck with that.

East Texas P1
East Texas P1

I hate to hijack this thread with a sexist comment but I am still trying to figure out if Angela is hot. I see some pics and I think hot; then I see others and meh, not so much. Curious to what you think about her on the 1 - 10 hotness scale (10 being tops).

Phillip Wu
Phillip Wu

Andrea, I think you are overreacting. And your assumptions that men don't do housework or care for the kids are not much less sexist than the sexism you describe in your article. You have to remember that there are not nearly as many women in political office as there are men (is that sexist? yes), and this fact makes it all the more likely that people who are seen as the exception rather than the norm will have their lives probed more closely. It's not sexism so much as it is the way of the media to probe the unfamiliar. Who the heck would care about Ron Natinsky's personal life? He's just another upper-middle-aged conservative white male politician just like the rest of them.

I don't live in the city of Dallas, but if I did, I would vote for Angela Hunt, hands down. She's awesome and exactly the type of person Dallas needs (an advocate for neighborhoods and the opposite of the typical pro-big business Dallas-Citizens-Council types like Leppert).

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

I think Angela would make an ecellent mayor. She has fought for the betterment of this city and most of the program she has fought against have been bottomless pits for tax payers. I have seen Angela in action and she fights for citizens when other councilmembers try to shut them up. Being a mother, working and being involved in the community have mostly consisted of female, so I see no problem. GO ANGELA!

heather
heather

I assume the DMN wants to be down on Angela out of the gate since she's the most liberal of the potential candidates (not that that matters in Dallas, but the DMN is so far gone down the road of being a political hack rag that it probably can't help itself). Frankly, I think a run for mayor might be a little more pressure than she wants to put on herself with an infant to take care of. Angela just about killed herself walking neighborhoods and knocking on doors in 2005. She lost about 40 pounds just from the activity and the stress alone. A mayoral race would be even more. But maybee she's getting used to it.

Cliff Dweller
Cliff Dweller

You beat me to it, Cassie. Laura was elected twice with small children in tow and a husband who was frequently out of town. At least Angela's husband is in the same city most of the time. And what about all those "soccer moms" who are supposed to vote in great numbers for someone they identify with?

Me, the bad one.
Me, the bad one.

I have been convinced for some time that the DMN operates out of a completely obliviously sexist frame of existance. Since the glossy half-page sales card arrived in my mailbox imploring me to re-subscribe after cancelling my annual subscription over a point of poor journalism. "It's a no-brainer", the blackened femine profile screamed from the electric yellow background, a strand of pearls around her neck. Even more insultingly (than the pearls), a hole was drilled into the middle of her head. Like I jumped out of bed every morning to read the paper because I had NO BRAIN? Thank you, that's why I take the Wall Street Journal, to feel stupid. I really didn't need to spend another $350 a year, especially since WSJ started covering sports.

This discussion about work and family was being discussed in college in 1980's FOR GOD'S SAKE. Kudo's to Councilwoman Hunt for rising above the discussion, because the negativity shouldn't be that she has a family, the positivity should be that she has a family. To indulge in the other discussion is to give it credence - and it does not have any. Take it from a woman who has been called by the DMN, the "wife of the..." - fuck that I helped build it with him.

IQ
IQ

Being Mayor in Dallas is kinda like being the King of England (or, in Ms. Hunt's case, the queen). Remember, the voters turned down the "strong mayor" proposition, so the position is largely without any real power (and, with Dallas' track record with Mayors, this is a very, very good thing). In Dallas, City Manager is where the true power and control resides, and that is where some serious change is warranted. If Ms. Hunt wants to be "queen", we'll see her run for Mayor

cp
cp

My, how quickly we forget our last female Mayor..... LaMiller had two young girls, and someone please correct me if I'm wrong but wasn't Max a toddler when she ran for Mayor???

And before that, as a council member, she battled breast cancer. I don't recall anyone saying that she was an unfit CM for having breast cancer!

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I would have been on board for Ms. Hunt but after the tax raising last year (on top of valuation increases by the DCAD) during a period where many are struggling—aside from the odd comment about “being fiscally conservative” (I will admit more so than the bobble heads down at city hall) and the logic that since Tom Leppart raised taxes the previous year so now it is her turn to do so….

Count me out.

scott
scott

Andrea, does Angela breast feed her baby? If nothing else, that is another unequal sexist aspect of life, as are stretch marks, and the fact that men get better looking with age. When my kids hurt themselves, they run to mama, they just do. When they have questions about the booboos they come to me. If mama were a doctor, they might go to her.

You know, really Islam is the paragon of what you wish. Under their dictates the responsibility for feeding, cleaning and teaching the children is upon the father; if the mother helps in these duties, it is considered a charity. Though education of women is indeed mandatory, as educating a woman educates the whole community. Women are even allowed to instruct men in religious matters, be bosses, own land and hold their own money for themselves.

But, again, life as lived tends to throw many of these burdens upon women. Not always, but often enough. I appreciate your pointing out the double standard, though again, if none of them have babies--is it such a double standard? I am sure none of them are breastfeeding their kids at 3:00am. And, as members of the troglodyte clan, have that much liberty to bring to office!

I think Angela is the best candidate I can think of. I don't think time constraints or hard work are essential to the position. But, integrity is something she seems to have a monopoly on, and that is worth more to me. But, you know, an earnest politician doesn't have the best campaign slogans. She will look like Debbie Downer next to the Smiling Shuckster the establishment will put forward. So, if there's a lot of energy, they'll point to Laura Miller, miss "Can't Do" and it could be tough.

mrbitz
mrbitz

also hard to miss the language they used towards the bottom of the article:

"Could be dangerous if matched up against the right candidate.""Considered the enemy of some in the business elite."

dangerous and enemy...that is, when she's not preoccupied with being a mother. they've come out punching already and she hasn't even decided to run yet.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

No Way I would vote for Ms Hunt...............Not this election This House of cards that Tom and the power people has set up is about to collapse.The Bills come do and the Taxes will have to go up to pay them.Let one of the establishment Stooges take the Blame ! Where it should go anyhow.

Maybe next time.

DallasMan
DallasMan

Fair enough, but then again, how many other potential candidates have facebook pages, twitter pages, blogs, flicker websites, etc.? I am a fan of Angela Hunt, and I like that she uses the Interwebs so efficiently to communicate with her constituents, but she does also open the door to her personal life. I have seen multiple personal facebook posts, pictures, tweets, whatever from her. Do I think this makes her more genuine? Yes. Do I think this opens up her personal life more to the public eye? Of course.

observist
observist

Oh goody, another Andrea Grimes dispatch from the War Between the Sexes circa 1988...

Ellum08
Ellum08

Will the Dallas Observer have a special 'Angela Hunt for Mayor' page, or will every other post from now until May be about how great she would be as mayor?

She may give the big boys a run for their money, but Ms. Hunt will never win. Not enough money and not enough North Dallas votes.

We'll see who the Citizen's Council pulls out of their hat (or someplace else.)

Thelisma Partridge
Thelisma Partridge

At least she doesn't have imaginary friends named Archie and Arthur...

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

It is really tough for the DMN to support anyone for political office that doesn't have white hair and a penis. Perhaps Ms. Hunt should consider adding one or the other.

John Jordan
John Jordan

This feels like a reflexive twitchpiece to me--I hope readers will click through and see the context of Jeffer's bullet points at the end of the article about the potential mayoral candidates.

Hunt's little segment reads, in full:

Pros: High name recognition and ability to get votes across the city. Could be dangerous if matched up against the right candidate.

Cons: Considered the enemy of some in the business elite. Ability to run an aggressive campaign could be affected by her new family. Can she raise enough money to compete?

He was simply listing pros and cons for each candidate, and it seems to me Hunt's con is the LEAST troublesome of all the candidates'. He had to come up with something, right? --and if your baby ain't a distracting time vacuum, you ain't much of a human. "Could be" is a long way from "will be." Relax yourself.

MattL1
MattL1

While I think it is wildly unfair to hold female candidates/politicians to such a different and higher standard, I wonder whether the question itself is all that unfair. Politicians of all stripes use their families, and not necessarily in a bad way, to connect to voters and lend them credibility on a range of issues. If that is the case, I don't see it as necessarily irrelevant to ask if those same familial responsibilities will inhibit their ability to serve their constituents. There are, after all only 24 hours in a day. I do agree though, and was a bit taken aback when I read the article, that women are very often held to this particular standard when their male counterparts are not.

I do think that Angela would make a fantastic mayor. I've always taken it as a point of pride that I live in District 14, and I seriously hope she runs.

Daniel
Daniel

Since I usually flame you when you're being strident, I should probably chime in that you're right on the money with this one, Andrea. I would second DoubleOJoe's point that these stereotypes cut both ways. Being expected to stay at at the office rather than participate in parenting activities is not a "privilege" I would wish upon women.

Aside from the inequitable gender norms you describe, I submit that our society is way, way too obsessed with work.

Sybil
Sybil

Andrea, you are my hero, and I'm old enough to be your mother. I can't even vote in the Dallas mayor's race (Denton county), but I've followed Ms. Hunt's career from afar with great admiration, and I think she would make a dandy mayor. Go, girl.

Bob
Bob

I'm betting that Gromer wishes that he could take that statement back, but in all fairness I've also wondered about how the baby could impact her decision to run. But she will run, no doubt about that. It's a weak field.

Everyone in-the-know says that Mayor Tom is definitely not running, but Natinsky does not have the business vote, and I suspect the Citizen's Council would welcome back Mayor Gray Ghost with big, open hands. I'm not sure if voters will. Hello underused hotel! Goodbye wasted bond dollars!

Leppert is a long shot for the Senate seat, and he has no shot -- zero. zilch - if David Dewhurst jumps in. And he will. So what's the mayor's move after that? Ambassador Leppert? Run and lose against a populist?

Phelps
Phelps

On this one, I agree. The same thing was done to both Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin.

Jay
Jay

Seems to me the DMN article, or the accompanying blurb, also mentioned recent personal issues concerning candidate Dwayne Caraway too. Something about bacon and eggs, the Police Chief and Caraway's wife?

Ms. Hunt, who I believe to be the best candidate so far, did recently ask to have her city council workload reduced due to her parenting responsibilities.

choraleboy
choraleboy

The people I associate with don't consider gay sex "deviant" - who are you associating with? LOL We "deviants" here in Oak Lawn LOVE us some Angela Hunt. I hope she runs!

El Rey
El Rey

Will the DMN having a political cartoon of 'Mayor Hunt' wearing a checkered apron and a baby on her hip? Odds are looking good for it...

"I'm glad you fixed the budget, honey. Now get back in the kitchen and bake me a pie!"

(This was a pre-emptive strike to keep the DMN from running Gromer Jeffers' next article on Councilwoman Hunt.)

Phillip Wu
Phillip Wu

That's the thing about feminists. They unite really well and spread their information around. Us men? Not so much. Men have a lot to work to do to achieve gender equality for their own behalf, but since we're constantly competing against each other (unfortunately, it's often for women), we've never really been able to unite together for a common cause such as advocating for awareness about men's issues and for true gender equality in society.

Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

I would cite all the questionable spending that occured after the budget. This year-central exp beautification (300,000.00), 1/2 Million for lowest Greenville (for a problem that must be fixed NOW but has exsisted for many many years (not to mentiion the neglect by the city of the citizens who live down there's complaints), just to name a few. It seems to me that once the budget if set the city couciil (Angela Hunt too) goes on a spending spree. As Lynda Koop once said in a town hall meeting: "look at all this money we have-help us spend it!". Real self control there.

IQ
IQ

Count me out too.......for the same reasons and then some.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Mr Mean the Higher Taxes have been brought on by MAYOR TOM & COMPANY irresponsible Spending .

All the more reason to elect some more of the GOOD OLD BOYS Again Lets see them get out of TOMS BOND DEBT FUELED spending ...

Jay
Jay

Not to be melodramatic, but given what has happened recently in Australia and Brazil, it should be clear to everyone that the silly bridge, unnecessary hotel, and submersible toll road are of no consequence compared to a catastrophic failure of the levies. I believe Ms. Hunt understands this.

Hasanmary
Hasanmary

Dont count on it. She has a lot more support than you can imagine.

Brian
Brian

But similar information can be found out about the other candidates using the ol' journalism. The fact that she tweets and flickrs doesn't mean that her personal life should factor more into the race than any other candidate's.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Will the Dallas Observer have a special 'Angela Hunt for Mayor' page, or will every other post from now until May be about how great she would be as mayor?

Doubtful. It would crowd out Schutze's forthcoming campaign widget.

http://lakehighlands.advocatem...

Amy S.
Amy S.

Can I "Like" this more than once, please?

InfamousQBert
InfamousQBert

again, it's not about the fact that he raised her family as an issue. it's the fact that he didn't raise anyone ELSE'S family obligations as an issue. it's all about context, and the context is that women are disproportionately expected to take on a greater burden when raising a family and then accused of not focusing enough time on their careers should they choose to pursue them.

Bob
Bob

I think she'd be a great mayor if she's able to transition from being hands-on for everything, to delegating when appropriate.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Ouch, that is a fair point and a big misstep on my part, chorale boy. I should have said "deviant" in the eyes of mainstream American culture. Although that is swiftly changing, as you note.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

The way the DMN operates once they get to that issue, if they don't fold first, it will cost you $4.50 at a newsstand or $40 a month for access on their crappy website to see it.

Andrea Grimes
Andrea Grimes

Phillip, men can be feminists, too. If you believe in gender equality, you're a feminist. Feminists fight for all people of all genders to have equal rights! Believe it. Join us.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Please make no mistake I think she would make a good Mayor.

I just think we need to let the ones who put us is the Public works Public Funding Public Debt straights mess we are plunging into be the FACE of the entire process.

Ellum08
Ellum08

LOL. That is why I love you, Wilonsky.

choraleboy
choraleboy

Thanks Andrea! I knew what you meant. And as the only male employee of a local agency that works with girls I'm with you on the Claytie Williams-esque Texas "can the little lady run the city and be a mother?" attitude. It is utterly ridiculous and Angela has already proven herself to her constituents! Let the race begin.

Now Trending

Dallas Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...