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Mickey Leland

Interview with Gene Locke

Gene Locke

Gene Locke

And we come to the end of the campaign interview season for 2009 with a conversation with each of the three leading contenders for Mayor. First up is Gene Locke, a native of East Texas and longtime resident of Houston who earned degrees from UH and South Texas College of Law. Locke has been in public service for many years, as Chief of Staff to the late Congressman Mickey Leland, City Attorney under Mayor Bob Lanier, the first Chair of the HCC Board of Trustees, and more. He was involved in the negotiations for all three publicly-funded sports stadiums, and has been special counsel to the Port of Houston and Metro. Locke is currently a partner at the firm of Andrews Kurth. He is married to Aubrey Sampson Locke.

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PREVIOUSLY:

Karen Derr, At Large #1
Brad Bradford, At Large #4
Stephen Costello, At Large #1
Lane Lewis, District A
Lonnie Allsbrooks, At Large #1
Noel Freeman, At Large #4
Brenda Stardig, District A
Oliver Pennington, District G
Amy Peck, District A
Herman Litt, At Large #1
Natasha Kamrani, HISD Trustee in District I, not running for re-election
Alex Wathen, District A
Robert Kane, District F
Council Member Melissa Noriega, At Large #3
Jeff Downing, District A
Mike Laster, District F
Council Member Jolanda Jones, At Large #5
Mills Worsham, District G
Rick Rodriguez, At Large #1
Council Member Sue Lovell, At Large #2
Carlos Obando, At Large #5
Richard Sedita, District G
Jack Christie, At Large #5
Dexter Handy, District G
George Foulard, District G
Alma Lara, HISD Trustee District I
Anna Eastman, HISD Trustee District I
Linda Toyota, HISD Trustee District I
Council Member Ed Gonzalez, District H
Council Member Wanda Adams, District D
Council Member Anne Clutterbuck, District C
Progressive Coalition candidates
Council Member Mike Sullivan, District E
Council Member James Rodriguez, District I
Council Member Jarvis Johnson, District B
Mike Lunceford, HISD Trustee District V
Ray Reiner, HISD Trustee District V
Council Member Ronald Green, candidate for Controller
Council Member MJ Khan, candidate for Controller
Council Member Pam Holm, candidate for Controller

Mickey Leland, 20 years later

Twenty years ago today, US Representative Mickey Leland died in a plane crash while on a humanitarian trip to Ethiopia. His widow Alison Leland and State Sen. Rodney Ellis remember his legacy in today’s Chron.

Twenty years ago our city, our nation and much of the world waited for word on the fate of the missing delegation led by Congressman Mickey Leland. The delegation was on the way to oversee the delivery and distribution of essential supplies to famine-stricken Ethiopia. After an international search effort, we learned that his plane had crashed, killing the congressman, congressional staff members, USAID staff and American and Ethiopian supporters.

Today, as he is missed and remembered, many of his passions and causes live on.

Although he loved Houston, Leland’s efforts, vision and the size of his heart could not be confined to the boundaries of his congressional district or this nation. Leland understood that the struggle for basic human rights — food, clothing, shelter and health care — was necessarily a global one. Leland dedicated his life to giving back; championing the causes of the poor and disempowered.

As an activist, long before he ran for elected office, Leland set up free health clinics in areas of Houston where residents previously had little to no access to health care. He continued the fight in the Texas Legislature and in Washington for those less privileged, on issues such as alleviating hunger and poverty, protecting civil rights and expanding access to health care. We are still fighting all these battles today.

Here’s his Wikipedia entry if you want to learn more. I had just moved into Montrose in the summer of 1989, so Leland was very briefly my Congressman. I’m sorry I never had the opportunity to meet him. Rest in peace, Mickey Leland.