Controversial councilwoman aims for TX Senate

Controversial councilwoman aims for TX Senate

Controversial councilwoman aims for TX Senate


by Andrew Delgado /


Posted on September 27, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 27 at 4:04 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- Councilwoman Elisa Chan announced her Republican candidacy for the Texas Senate in a press release Friday.

Chan will be seeking a Senate seat in District 25, which covers North-Central Bexar, Kendall, Comal, Hays and parts of Guadalupe and Travis Counties.

Councilwoman Chan currently represents District 9 -- a self-described 'conservative' section of the city's north side, according to the release from Chan's campaign. Chan has been elected to represent the district three times.

"Our state and our families face serious threats over the next four years," Chan said in her campaign announcement. "Misguided policies ... are steadily degrading our quality of education, our family values and even our ability to defend ourselves from violent criminals."

Chan became entangled in a local controversy after an aide on her staff secretly recorded a conversation inside Chan's office -- where Chan allegedly made anti-gay remarks.  Audio from the closed meeting was eventually leaked to the San Antonio Express-News.

In the recording, Chan can be heard calling homosexuals 'disgusting' and saying that same-sex couples should not be allowed to adopt.

Chan was out of town when the recording was made public. Chan later responded:

"The comments from the staff meeting on May 21st were and are my personal opinions and thoughts as guaranteed to me by the 1st amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is unfortunate that a former member of my District 9 Council team betrayed the trust of my staff members and me. I will fight, I will always fight for our freedom of speech, especially in a private setting."

Chan defended her remarks at a press conference.  "My belief, my views are mine. I do not impose that on anybody else. I'm not asking anybody to agree with me,"

In an August interview with KENS 5's Jeff Goldblatt, Chan said the proposed changes to the non-discrimination ordinance would be more of a headache than do good.

Chan held her stance and voted 'no' on the non-discrimination ordinance despite heavy criticism from hundreds of citizens across the city and her district.

The ordinance passed in a lopsided vote, 8-3, on Sept. 5.

Although Chan's remarks didn't fair well with local liberals and the LGBT community, religious and conservative organizations backed the councilwoman for not retreating in the firestorm.

In her campaign announcement, Chan was described as a "fiscal and social conservative ... a steadfast foe of tax increases and ... wasteful government spending."

While Chan was expected to make a run for a Texas Senate seat, the announcement rides on the heels of controversial remarks that divided the San Antonio community. 

Similar changes to non-discrimination ordinances in other Texas cities such as Austin, Dallas and El Paso easily passed.

Texans will have to wait and see to what effect the controversy surrounding the non-discrimination issue will have on Chan's campaign for the GOP nomination.

Locally, the scab is still fresh.  Mayor Julian Castro and council members who supported the updated non-discrimination ordinance are targets of a recall campaign.

Chan was born in Taiwan and moved to America in 1988, according to her profile on the city's website. Chan became a U.S. citizen eleven years later and has resided in San Antonio for the last 20 years.

Chan graduated from the University of Texas with a Master's in computer science. She is married and has an eighth-grade daughter.