This story originally appeared in our sister paper, Out In SA.
Photo via Mauro Garza for Congress
Mauro E. Garza
Mauro E. Garza, the owner of the Pegasus nightclub on the Main Avenue Strip, has thrown his hat into the primary for the Texas 21st Congressional District seat running as a Republican.
Garza is one of 18 Republicans who are vying to succeed Lamar S. Smith (R-San Antonio) who’s held the seat for the last 30 years.
The 21st District encompasses South Austin, San Antonio, Dripping Springs, San Marcos, New Braunfels, Boerne, Kerville, and Frederickburg.
Garza, a native of Corpus Christi, has lived in the San Antonio area for almost 30 years. He received a Masters of Science from the University of Texas at San Antonio and was an adjunct faculty member at San Antonio College for seven years.
Garza served as the president of Southwest Analytical Concepts, where he provided technical assistance to government agencies. He also was director of grants and contracts management at the Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research.
During his employment with the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, Garza developed councils on alcohol and drug abuse for the State of Texas and was nationally certified as a trainer for the National Institutes on Alcohol and Drug Abuse.
Garza has been visible in San Antonio’s LGBT community as owner of the Pegasus nightclub which he purchased through his firm, M. Garza Enterprises, Inc.
In a 2012 interview with Elaine Wolff for an article in Plaza de Armas, Garza described the atmosphere of the Pegasus as down-home. “If I spent half a million [on my bar], my customers might not come,” he said. “We never have a cover; our employees treat our customers nice.”
In 2009, the local chapter of the Human Rights Campaign honored Garza with a Community Service Award saying he had contributed over $100,000 to local LGBT organizations. The following year, Garza ran as a Democrat for Justice of the Peace, Pct 3, narrowly losing the primary by 122 votes.
On his campaign website, Garza lists health care, veterans, the economy, foreign policy, education, and science and technology as his “key issues.” There is no mention of LGBT equality, women’s rights or immigration policy.
However, on his campaign Facebook page he writes in a post, “The only LGBTQ agenda I push is that of RESPECT. I do not wish to force Americans to understand our culture and various subcultures or even to accept them. However, I will continue to fight for the American Agenda that allows the Members of the LGBTQ Community to exercise our freedoms within the parameters of the laws in this great nation.”