Meet Bruno 'Ralphy' Lozano, the new mayor of Del Rio who wears four-inch heels
Being the youngest mayor elected in the history of his town, Lozano has previously worked as a flight attendant, served in the armed forces, and is gay
A male veteran who wears heels as tall as four inches, trimmed with colors of the star-spangled banner, has taken the political sphere in Texas by storm.
Mayor Bruno "Ralphy" Lozano of Del Rio wore bedazzled, flag-high heels in his city's last Veteran's Day parade. Being the youngest mayor elected in the history of his town, Lozano has previously worked as a flight attendant, served in the armed forces, and is gay.
This year, a total of 52 LGBTQ candidates ran for the office in Texas, and the colorful Lozano was one of them, reports Huffington Post.
“I just advocated this is who I am,” says Lozano. “I didn’t use the LGBT flag in my campaign. I don’t have that kind of community. We don’t have a gayborhood. A part of me is gay. A part of me is a human being who cares for the community.”
The formation of Del Rio, a small border town in south Texas, dates back to the 17th century. Interestingly, it is also home to the Laughlin Air Force Base, and many attribute Lozano's decision to join the Air Force to his close proximity to the airdrome.
“The military has helped me a lot,” says Lozano. “I understand structure. I understand the chain of command. I understand job duties.” He gives a deliberate and important tone to each syllable and period with his charming voice, as he talks about the military.
He continues, “Job function. Being part of a team. Insuring the group has good moral. Knowing you can get through the difficult times together, the awesome times together. The military taught me about structure and got me out of my comfort zone. The military teaches you to contribute to society.”
Lozano joined the Air Force in 2004 on a 15-month special needs contract, kickstarting his military career.
“My recruiter and I had a conversation about ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’” he says laughing. “I said ‘I just wanna ask you a question, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is just what you do, they don’t ask, I don’t tell, right?’”
While the DADT policy was the sole reason why Lozano was able to join the forces, it is also the reason why he decided to step down. He recounts his time in uniform: “It’s an awkward position to be in when you’re in security forces, you’re abiding by the policy, but others are not."
There was once a time when a friend of his brought his boyfriend onto the base. The friend, who was highly discreet when in uniform, was busted, and it was Lozano who had to give him the bad news. Immediately after, he said to himself, “I just can’t do this,” and put in his papers.
When you think of Texas, homosexuality seems like a taboo in society, even though it is allowed by the law. But there is a rather interesting fact about small city elections in the state — they are nonpartisan.
“I don’t even think people during the primary – Democrats or Republicans — even knew who I was until I won,” he says.
During his mayoral campaign, the veteran spoke about investment and infrastructure and also about getting the coming generations involved. His message resonated with the town's populace and he won with almost 62 percent of the vote. Previously, Lozano was known in Del Rio for his efforts to clean up local waterways.
Swallowing a sinister chuckle, Lozano says that he had an idea about how the government works before he ran the race. However, he realized that what he knew was just the "tip of an iceberg" once he was elected.
“You see the top and then it goes way deep. There’s a process for everything!” he said.
Lozano asserts that this is where his experience as a flight attendant and his training with the corps proves to be helpful. “I use the training from the military and airlines and I’m patient. There are certain pressing issues that I’ll address immediately. Other things have to wait.” Mayor Lozano then adds, “Its organized chaos.”
Being gay is a big advantage for his town and for himself, he says. The Mayor is being invited to address different ceremonies as it is graduation season. “Being a voice for a community is awesome,” says Mayor Lozano.
“Do you know how empowering it is to have somebody who was taught to not treat anyone differently? To treat everyone humanly. That gives me tears and chills. I’m honored to be their elected official. I’m the mayor — a servant of the public.”
According to Lozano, politics is addictive. “Realizing that you’re the guy who has the potential to make or break the city,” says the Mayor. “And then continue moving forward. If I make it, great and then I can do the district. I can go to the Senate. From there, who knows?”