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Homophobic
Houston Mayor Louie Welch Dies

Homophobic
Houston Mayor Louie Welch Dies

Louie Welch, a former five-term Houston mayor remembered for his service to the city and a remark caught on a TV microphone that ended his lengthy political career, died Sunday. He was 89.

Louie Welch, a former five-term Houston mayor remembered for his service to the city and a remark caught on a TV microphone that ended his lengthy political career, died Sunday. He was 89.

Welch suffered from lung cancer, his son Gary told the Houston Chronicle.

Welch's political career began in 1949 when he was elected to the Houston city council. He was a council member for eight years, from 1950 until 1952 and from 1956 to 1962. After unsuccessful mayoral bids in 1952 and 1954, Welch was elected mayor for the first time in 1963.

Welch was mayor in 1967 when two days of battles erupted between police and students at predominantly black Texas Southern University. A police officer was killed, and about 500 Texas Southern students were arrested.

In 1973 he did not run for reelection, joining what was then the Houston Chamber of Commerce. But he came back in 1985 in an attempt to take the mayor's job from Kathy Whitmire.

He lost the race after saying on an open television microphone that one way to stop the spread of AIDS was to ''shoot the queers.'' He made the remark without realizing the microphone was on.

Some gays responded with T-shirts that sported the slogan ''Don't shoot, Louie!''

After losing to Whitmire, Welch said he had lost ''the instinct to fight in the rough-and-tumble that campaigns have become.'' (AP)

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