HOUSTON – City Hall was lit up in green Tuesday night in memory of Houston City Councilman Larry Green, who was found dead inside his home early this afternoon.
HPD officers were asked to check on Green after he missed a meeting, Houston Assistant Police Chief Wendy Baimbridge said. Officers forced entry into his home and found Green in his bed.
Baimbridge said there were no signs of foul play. Green was 52.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Green captured the essence of being an enlightened public servant.
“Houston has lost a groundbreaking advocate for equality, economic opportunity and neighborhood safety,” Turner said. “He was my friend, my fraternity brother, someone who participated in my first campaign.
News of Green’s death broke just before Tuesday’s weekly council meeting started. Turner began the meeting by giving condolences to Green’s family, colleagues and constituents.
At the Pinnacle Senior Center in Southwest Houston, which Green helped bring to life, the news was devastating to employees and community members who considered him more than just a council member.
“Everybody was just kind of like in a daze,” said Leroy Price, an employee at the senior center. “Such a good guy, man. So young.”
Price said Green would go out of his way to greet him when they’d cross paths in the community. He also remembered frequently seeing Green sitting on benches outside of the community center listening to constituents’ concerns.
“Everybody has an individual story with this guy,” said Green. “These people loved him. Like, he didn’t even have to ask, ‘Do I have your vote?’”
Council members offered a moment of silence before sharing their memories of Green’s respect and love for his community. Councilman Dave Martin asked for everyone at City Hall to wear green Wednesday in Green’s honor.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, said Green had a lust for life when he worked as her district director and that he had a will to make things happen.
“I offer you my prayers and my sympathy, and to his extended family … we embrace you with love and we will walk alongside of you during this journey,” Lee said. “God bless you, Council member Larry Green, and may you rest in peace.”
Green served as a council member since January 2012 for the newly formed District K, which spanned from the edge of the Texas Medical Center to the part of Houston that spanned into Fort Bend County. His district also included both Houston and Fort Bend ISDs and NRG Park.
“We all know he respected and loved his community,” said Council Member Brenda Stardig, of District A.
ReShonda Tate Billingsley, a well-known author and journalist, went to high school with Green and says the two remained friends through the years.
“We have all lost a Houston treasure,” said Billingsley.
Several people at the meeting praised Green’s work ethic and dedication to District K.
“He was an individual that was going to stand up and speak up, and he did that many times around the horseshoe (council chambers),” said Council Member Robert Gallegos, of District I.
Mayor Sylvester Turner said Green also fought on the city’s behalf in Washington, D.C. During a recent trip, Green had advocated for a $9.4 million grant to pay for new technology to alert drivers to high water at 40 flood-prone intersections, including Alt. U.S. 90 and Beltway 8 in Green’s district.
During Tuesday’s meeting, Turner announced the city had just landed that grant. It’s proof, his colleagues say, that even though Council Member Green’s chair may be empty, he’s still fighting for the everyday people in his district.
“I’m most proud of how you actually had a voice,” said Price.
Engaged in private practice of law for 21 years, Council Member Green has been responsible for all matters relative to a general practice. During, his first term on Houston City Council, Council Member Green has brought over 20 million dollars’ worth of economic development projects to District K including but not limited to a Houston Police Department station, neighborhood street reconstruction and repair projects, a senior citizen center in Fort Bend Houston and has brought a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) for the Hiram Clarke and Fort Bend Houston Area. Additionally, Council Member Green led the efforts to increase the MWBE / SBE participation goals from 22 percent to 34 percent. The Council Member also insured that women owned businesses were included back into the city’s affirmative action contracting program.
Council Member Green has been appointed by Mayor Parker to be chair of Transportation, Technology and Infrastructure Committee. This Committee is responsible for the Information Technology, Houston Airport System, METRO, Port of Houston and the Public Works and Engineering department projects as well as Rebuild Houston Projects, Water & Sewer, and water resources and conservation.
He has recently been appointed by the National League of Cities to serve 2014 Finance, Administration and Intergovernmental Relations Steering committee. As a member of the committee, Council Member Green will address national economic policy, general financial assistance programs intergovernmental relations, census, and municipal bonds issues just to name a few.
Council Member Green earned his BA in Political Science from the University of Houston and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence, from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Texas Southern University. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Greater Houston Partnership, a former Board Trustee of Brentwood Baptist Church, serves on the Board of the Texas Black Expo, and serves on the College of Science and Technology Advisory Board at Texas Southern University.
The medical examiner’s office will determine his cause of death.
Green is survived by his brother.