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Judge Emmett To Appoint New Harris County Commissioner This Week

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett plans to appoint a new Precinct 1 commissioner on Friday to take the seat of the late El Franco Lee.

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Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee died earlier this month at the age of 66 after 30 years in office. Joe Stinebaker is with the judge's office. He says Judge Emmett is looking for someone who will carry out Lee's vision for Precinct 1.

"It's a predominantly democratic precinct, so he is looking to appoint a democrat," Stinebaker says. "Commissioner Lee was the first African-American commissioner on Harris County Commissioners Court, so the judge is looking for an African-American as well."

portrait of Lee
Courtesy Harris County Commissioners Court
The late Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee.

Lee's replacement will face some challenges, almost immediately. Next week, county commissioners are set to hold a budget meeting before the new fiscal year begins on March 1. That means the new commissioner will have just weeks to finalize a budget for Precinct 1.

"Whoever the replacement is will have to have a bit of a baptism of fire and have their budget in place just to run the office for the remainder of the year," Stinebaker says.

The interim replacement will serve out the rest of Lee's term. Voters will choose a permanent replacement during the November 2016 election.

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