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Margo Frasier

In a profession that generally raises images of pistol-packing tough guys, Goebler thought Frasier would have two things working against her: She's a woman, and she's gay. But Frasier won the election, and she has used both to her benefit. Frasier, whose last day at her $102,000-a-year job was Friday, is credited with altering mind-sets in her conservative department. She also is praised for introducing community policing to rural Travis County, bringing the jails to state standards for the first time in a decade and adding millions of dollars in new equipment.

During her first campaign and in the months after her election, Frasier consistently declined to talk publicly about her sexuality. While the gay press wrote stories about her status as a gay officeholder in conservative Texas, Frasier would not discuss the matter with reporters; she told one newspaper reporter that "a person's private life should be just that."

But during her two terms in office, Frasier has evolved from declining public comment to publicly embracing her sexuality. She talks about being an adoptive mother and having a significant other. Today, Frasier downplays any suggestion that her public stance about her sexuality has changed. She says she didn't try to hide it -- in fact, she says that when she first ran for sheriff, she honestly answered a radio talk show caller who asked whether she was gay.

But she never thought it was important to her role as sheriff. " I didn't feel it was honest to try to create a facade," she said. "My feeling was that if people started talking about my sexual orientation, that meant they were scared and knew they were whipped."

Frasier's successor, Greg Hamilton, the county's first African American sheriff, will take office in early January.

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