Metro Weekly

Gay Air Force veteran elected mayor of Del Rio, Texas

Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano, a political newcomer, defeated an incumbent to become the city's youngest mayor in history

Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano – Photo: Facebook.

A Texas border town has a elected a gay Air Force veteran as its next mayor.

Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano was chosen by the citizens of Del Rio, Texas in an election last Saturday. Lozano, a political newcomer and relative underdog, emerged victorious with 62% of the vote.

At 35, Lozano is the town’s youngest mayor and its first openly gay elected official. He previously served as a security law enforcement officer in the U.S. Air Force and then became an activist, pushing for the cleanup of local waterways, reports IntoMore.com.

He ran against incumbent Mayor Robert Garza on a platform of calling for more investment and infrastructure, as well as economic growth in the private sector — which has lagged behind neighboring towns for years.

Much of Del Rio’s economy has largely relied on government employment, with Laughlin Air Force Base and the U.S. Border Patrol serving as the two largest employers.

Lozano’s sexual orientation never became an issue on the campaign trail, and barely anybody reacted negatively when he infamously wore high heels to march in the city’s Veterans Day parade.

Prior to his election, Lozano told IntoMore.com that he served in the Air Force during the time ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was still in place, and eventually decided not to re-enlist because he was “not ashamed of who I am.”

“Stonewall happened because drag queens and a minority group stood up to animosity, and I had to go back in the closet [while in the Air Force] because of that same hatred,” he said. “I know what that was like, and it translates to today’s campaign. I’m not going to bow down. I am who I am. Accept me or not.”

After the results came in, Lozano thanked his supporters on his campaign’s Facebook page, writing: “On behalf of my entire family, friends and campaign team, thank you all for your support. Del Rio, WE did this and together WE can move OUR city forward. Thank you all!!”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com