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Former Austin Council Member Dies

ABIA, security checkpoint, 11-17-10.jpg
Image by KUT News
The effort to name the Barbara Jordan Terminal at ABIA was led in part by former Council Member Eric Mitchell

Former Austin City Council Member Eric Mitchell has died. 

He served just one term on the City Council, from 1994-97.  Bruce Todd was Austin's mayor at the time, and he recalls Council Member Mitchell's forceful style on the dais.

"Sometimes his style was to challenge people coming up to speak to us about one thing or the other, whatever it might be that supported his cause or expressed his interest.  So he was forceful, but that's what you elected officials for," the former mayor told KUT News.

Brigid Shea sat on the council for two years with Mitchell.  She said part of Eric Mitchell's legacy should be that he was a very charismatic figure.  But Shea said her colleague was very outspoken, especially when it came to environmental issues.

"He made clear that part of his job in going to the council was to bash environmentalists, and he was very candid about it," Shea told KUT.

Todd says the former council member's greatest contributions were to revitalization in East Austin.  He also led the effort to name the terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Barbara Jordan's honor. 

Eric Mitchell was defeated by Willie Lewis in a runoff election in a bid for a second council term in 1997.  He was died of a brain tumor Monday in his boyhood hometown of Atlanta, Georgia.

Ian Crawford joined KUT as News Editor in 2008, after spending over four years as a reporter/anchor at KLBJ Radio in Austin. He began his broadcasting career while still in high school in Southern Oregon. During high school and college at the University of Oregon, he worked at times as a reporter, news anchor, sports play-by-play reporter, music host and commercial producer before moving to Texas in 2003.