As part of News is Out’s Election 2022 coverage, we are looking at races all over the country and sharing campaigns of key LGBTQ+ candidates.
Name: Venton Jones
Office: Texas House of Representatives District 100
Bio: Venton Jones is founder and CEO of the Southern Black Policy and Advocacy Network, a non-profit with the mission of improving health, social, and economic conditions impacting Black communities in the U.S. South. In 2019, he was appointed to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Health Resources and Services Administration Advisory Committee on HIV, Viral Hepatitis, and STD Prevention and Treatment.
Jones serves as a neighborhood precinct chair and an election judge. He’s also a former board member of Stonewall Democrats of Dallas, the largest Democratic Party club in Texas. He serves as chair of the Dallas County HIV Task Force, is former vice chair of the Dallas County Ryan White Planning Council and is former Board member of the City of Dallas Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center.
Opponent: Joe Roberts was born in Irving, Texas. Roberts earned a bachelor’s degree from Texas Tech University in 1993 and a graduate degree from the University of North Texas in 2002. His career experience includes working as a professor. Roberts has served as the vice chair of the Libertarian Party of Dallas County and on the state executive committee of the Libertarian Party of Texas. He has been affiliated with the Bastiat Society.
Most important issue in the race: Jones has made healthcare the top issue in the race because his grandmother was a healthcare worker and his career has been in public and community health. Medicaid expansion in Texas would save the state more than a billion dollars.
However, as a Democrat running in Texas, his issues also include fixing the grid, stopping censorship of books in schools and libraries and voting rights, which have targeted cities more likely to vote Democratic.
The significance or historic first if Jones wins: He will become the first openly gay Black man to serve in the Texas House of Representatives and he will be the first legislator who is out about his HIV-positive status.
What the campaign is like on the ground: Jones is expected to easily win his election since his only opponent is Libertarian and Republicans declined to put up a candidate against a political newcomer. The district is heavily Democratic.
Jones won his primary against four opponents, but he’s been spending the campaign block walking his district to meet residents of the district and asking about their concerns for the district.
David Taffet is senior staff writer of Dallas Voice.