BY HANNAH LESTER
LEE COUNTY —
The Lee County Commission honored the life of late District 5 Commissioner John Andrew Harris Monday night.
Harris, who passed away on Jan. 15, served multiple terms on the commission and had been a public servant in Lee County for many years.
Harris began his political career in Opelika in 1986 by serving on the Opelika City Council, a position he held until 1994. After this, he served on the Lee County Commission for over two decades.
Following a brief hiatus, Harris returned to the commission this past fall, elected to District 5 in November.
“Whereas, with greatest respect, we celebrate the life and legacy of John Andrew Harris, who proudly served the constituents of Lee County as District 5 commissioner until he passed away on Jan. 15, 2023,” said Lee County Probate Judge Bill English as he read a proclamation in Harris’ honor. “… He received many awards and recognitions, including the Barack Obama Lifetime Achievement Award, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Award and the Champion of Change Political Action Award.”
English listed many of his accomplishments and service, including helping to revitalize the Lee County NAACP branch, serving as one of the first Black Opelika City Council members, owning a grocery store in Opelika for 15 years and more. Harris was committed to the voting process and often drove people to the polls if they did not have transportation.
“Therefore, be it resolved, by the Lee County Commission that while mourning the death of Commissioner John Andrew Harris, we are grateful for his life and tireless service to others, and we offer this resolution in highest tribute to his legacy, as well as in heartfelt sympathy to his family,” English said.
During his years of service, English said the commissioner with whom he served the longest was Harris.
“We’re going to miss John,” he said.
– The commission heard a report from the East Central District with the Alabama Department of Public Health to hear what it offers the community.
– The commission discussed a dispute between landowners related to access to property along Lee Road 196.
– The commission approved an ad-valorem tax abatement resolution for ADC300, LLC.
– The commission approved an education reimbursement amount for the Lee County Sheriff’s Department.
– The commission approved the application for the 2023 Rebuild Alabama Act Annual Grant Program to rebuild a bridge on Lee County Road 245.
– The commission approved the Columbus-Phenix City MPO Resolution for resurfacing Lee Road 240.
– The commission approved a speed limit reduction for Lee Road 262.