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Ed Emmett Appoints Gene Locke As Replacement For Late Harris County Commissioner

Gene Locke said he plans to be a hands-on commissioner and will continue El Franco Lee’s programs for Precinct 1 youth and seniors.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett appointed Gene Locke Friday as the interim replacement for the late Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee.

El Franco Lee, the first African-American ever elected to the Harris County Commissioners Court, died on January 3, 2016 at the age of 66.  He served as commissioner of Precinct 1, which includes much of the inner city and south Houston, for over 30 years.

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

“This precinct belongs to El Franco Lee,” Locke said after his swearing in at the Harris County Administration Building in downtown Houston. “And anything I do for the next 11 months belongs to his legacy.”

Locke, a partner at the Andrews Kurth law firm, will serve as through December 31, 2016.  A permanent replacement will be elected this November.

Locke said he plans to be a hands-on commissioner and will continue Lee’s programs for Precinct 1 youth and seniors.  However, he said he does not intend to run for Precinct 1 commissioner in November.

Other candidates are already showing interest in the job. State Senator Rodney Ellis, a Democrat from Houston, has confirmed plans to run.

In a statement, he writes, “I’m excited to visit with Harris County precinct chairs and other leaders about continuing El Franco Lee’s legacy of service to his community.”

Locke, 68, is a former Houston mayoral candidate and previously served as Houston city attorney from 1995 to 1998, special counsel to Metro, and general counsel to the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority.

 

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