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Ed Emmett Plans To Appoint Replacement For Late Harris County Commissioner

El Franco Lee was the first African-American ever elected to the Harris County Commissioners Court.

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Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee passed away Sunday morning in an apparent heart attack.

El Franco Lee was the first African-American ever elected to the Harris County Commissioners Court. He died Sunday at the age of 66.

For 30 years, Lee served as commissioner of Precinct 1, which includes much of the inner city and south Houston.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says he’s aiming to appoint someone to serve out the rest of Lee’s term by the end of the month. The permanent replacement will be selected during a November 2016 election.

Emmett says the interim replacement will be another Precinct 1 resident.

“That precinct is an overwhelmingly Democrat precinct, and it was the first precinct in Harris County represented by an African-American, so those things need to be considered,” Emmett says.

During his tenure, Lee led the charge to organize community programs and revitalize public parks. In 1990, residents successfully advocated to rename Hall Road Park as El Franco Lee Park.

Clent Jones recently moved to the city from Denver, Colorado. He says he and his family were grateful to the green space near their neighborhood.

“This is a beautiful park, and actually we just drive around exploring,” Jones says. “I drive on the Beltway, so I always see this park.”

Commissioner Lee is survived by his wife and two children.

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Tomeka Weatherspoon

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Tomeka Weatherspoon is an Emmy-award winning producer. She produces segments, the weekly television program Arts InSight, the short film showcase The Territory and a forthcoming digital series on innovation. Originally from the Midwest, Tomeka studied convergence journalism from the world’s first journalism school at the University of Missouri. She has...

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