Jennifer Gale at the University of Texas in 2006
|Born||1960 (according to Travis County voting records)|
|Died||December 17, 2008|
|Known for||Running for office|
Jennifer Lauren Gale (1960 – December 17, 2008) was an American perennial political candidate in Texas. Gale was a native of Wisconsin and a Democrat. She was a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Gale gained fame in her adopted hometown of Austin, Texas for repeatedly running, or attempting to run, for multiple offices including congress, governor, mayor, city council, and the school board. Gale often attended municipal hearings, forums, and meetings in Austin where she was known for presenting arguments in song. Gale planned to run for Mayor of Austin in May 2009.
Gale, a trans woman and resident of Austin precinct 147, was one of a number of well known Austin eccentrics which include urban outdoorsman cross-dresser Leslie Cochran, who also has run for municipal office in Austin, Texas. She had a very high IQ, but failed in the socialization part of the tests due to awkwardness in dealing with being transgender, and not being told that until the teenage years.
Gale appeared before the Austin City Council on November 20, 2008 and warned about the number of urban outdoorsmen that had died on the city's streets. She also sang "I'll be homo for Christmas" and declared that 2009 would be "Hug A Homo" year; "a perfect chance for all heterosexuals to hug a homosexual."
On December 17, 2008, according to the Austin Fire Department, she was found dead outside a University of Texas area church where she regularly slept.
Gale's first run for elective office came during her bid for Austin mayor in 1997. She earned 420 votes (0.67%), but over time grew increasingly well known and improved her percentages with each race until she was consistently garnering a percentage in the range of 5% to 9%.
In 2004, Gale surprised the Austin political establishment by earning 38.7% of the vote against incumbent school board president Doyle Valdez for the At-Large Position 8 seat of the Austin Independent School District, garnering the highest percent share in her electoral bids.
In recent elections, Gale received 9.3% of the vote in 2005 for Austin City Council Place 4, 6.7% of the vote in 2006 for Austin Mayor, and 0.7% of the vote in 2007 for Dallas Mayor. In her most recent election, Gale placed fourth among six candidates for the 2008 Austin City Council Place 4 election, earning 1,951 votes or 5.8% of the total cast.
Gale filed her intent but ultimately did not gain ballot access to run as an independent candidate against Republican congressman Lamar S. Smith in the 2008 November general election for Texas congressional district 21.
1997 Mayor of Austin
- 4th of 8 candidates. 420 votes (0.67%)
1998 Austin I.S.D. School Board Vice President
- 2nd of 2 candidates. (34%)
1999 Austin City Council Place 4
- 9th of 10 candidates. 691 votes (2.07%)
2000 Mayor of Austin
- 4th of 4 candidates. 1,244 votes (3.51%)
2001 Mayor of Austin (special)
- 5th of 8 candidates. 1,538 votes (2.57%)
2002 Austin City Council Place 1
- 5th of 5 candidates. 2,111 (5.41%)
2003 Mayor of Austin
- 6th of 9 candidates. 1,077 (1.83%)
2004 Austin I.S.D. School Board Vice President
- 2nd of 2 candidates. 11,735 (38.7%)
2005 Austin City Council Place 4
- 3rd of 5 candidates. 5,315 (9.29%)
2006 Mayor of Austin
- 3rd of 3 candidates. 3,560 (6.7%)
2007 Mayor of Dallas
- 9th of 11 candidates. 554 votes (0.78%)
2008 Austin City Council Place 4
- 4th of 6 candidates. 1,953 (5.84%)
Political platform and views
Some Austinites[who?] viewed Gale as the personification of the famous "Keep Austin Weird" campaign. Gale embraced the slogan and ran for office with the slogan of "Keep Austin, Austin," which she modified for her 2007 run for mayor of Dallas using the slogan "Keep Dallas, Dallas."
In 2004, Gale was challenged by fellow mayoral candidate and popular local vagrant crossdresser Leslie Cochran to a debate at the University of Texas student union on the topic of who would best represent the urban outdoor people. Gale declined to participate unless given $50 worth of food from the Wendy's restaurant inside the union. "Dunlavy", the event organizer, declined.
Jennifer Gale was found in an unresponsive state near the rear entrance of the First English Lutheran Church on Whitis Ave in Austin Texas by a staff member shortly after 7:00 am on December 17, 2008. According to an eye witness who was doing maintenance at the church, she did not respond to attempts to wake her up from where she had slept that night on a concrete ramp with little more than a sheet and some news papers. 911 was immediately called and first responders arrived in less than a minute from Fire Station #3 across 30th street from the church. After extended Attempts to resuscitate Gale, she was pronounced dead at the scene at 8:26 AM. An autopsy later revealed that she had died from heart disease probably exacerbated by sleeping outside in near-freezing temperatures [dead link]
A number of Austin politicians and politicos have expressed sorrow at her death. The Burnt Orange Report blog posted a reflective essay on her life along with photos and a plea to support urban outdoor people.
- Jennifer Gale (2008-11-21). "I am a candidate for Mayor of Austin in 2009.". Retrieved 2010-06-26.
- Karl-Thomas Musselman (2008-12-18). "Prophetic Jennifer Gale". Retrieved 2008-12-22.
- Tony Plohetski. "Jennifer Gale found dead". Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- "Mayor: Jennifer Gale". Bicycle Austin. 2001-11-05.
- "Mayor: Jennifer Gale". Bicycle Austin. 2005-05.
- "Mayor: Jennifer Gale". Bicycle Austin. 2006-05.
- Mike Clark-Madison (2004-05-28). "Austin @ Large: (Jennifer) Gale Force". Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- "May 7, 2005 Joint General and Special Election Results". Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- "May 13, 2006 Joint General and Special Election Results". Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- "May 12, 2007 Dallas County Joint Election Results". Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- "May 10, 2008 Joint General and Special Elections". Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- "Appointment of Treasurer Form". Retrieved 2008-11-13.
- Kimberly Reeves (2008-04-25). "That Girl Can Sing". Retrieved 2008-05-05.
- Tony Plohetski. "Eternal Austin political hopeful Jennifer Gale dies". Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- Tony Plohetski. "Gale died of cardiovasular disease, medical examiner says". Retrieved 2009-02-12.
- David Mauro. "Jennifer Gale Found Dead in Austin". Retrieved 2008-12-17.
- Election History in City of Austin
- Official Campaign Website
- Official MySpace page
- Austin American-Statesman: "Gale not allowed to speak at candidate forum."[dead link]
- Austin Chronicle: 2008 City Council Candidate Preview
- Austin Chronicle: "(Jennifer) Gale Force"
- Burnt Orange Report: "Gale Gets No Satisfaction"
- Daily Texan: "Plenty of Free Time? Run for Governor."[dead link]