But not forgotten
Late Congressman Mickey Iceland's fight to improve the lives of
the hungry in developing nations
had great impact, and the momentum of his efforts will continue.
Leland, 45, was killed August 7 in
a plane crash on the southwestern
border of Ethiopia. His mission to
Sudan was the sixth during a five-
year period to the region.
Since 1978, Leland had served in
Congress. He was founder of the
House Select Committee on Hunger
in 1984 and served as chairman. The
purpose of the committee was to
study and resolve problems of international hunger and
Alma Newsom, communications director for
the 18th Congressional
District, said that Leland
was an influential political figure among foreign governments in
dealing with world hunger. "He had the ability
to meet with leaders of
different political philosophies and get things done," she
In March of 1989, in a meeting
with the State Department of Kenya,
Leland met with President Moy and
within a half hour, Moy agreed to
assist Leland in fighting hunger in
the region, Newsom said.
"His power of persuasion was tremendous," Elinor Constable, U.S.
Ambassador to Kenya said.
Timmie Jenson, Hunger Committee press secretary, said Leland was
"exceptional," having much experience and credibility in Africa.
"Because of this, the congressman
was able to have more access into
other countries than government officials," she said.
Leland had excellent contact with
the Ethiopian government, Jenson
said. Through his efforts, much hunger relief was given during the 1984
Ethiopian famine, she said.
Today, the hunger fight moves on
with the appointment of Rep. Tony
Hall, D-Ohio, as chairman of the
hunger committee. He accompanied
Leland on two missions to Ethiopia
during 1984 and 1987, said Michael
Gessell, Hall's press secretary.
According to Gessell, "Hall says of
Leland, 'There is no more fitting tribute to Mickey than continuing the
work of the hunger committee to improve the lives of millions
of hungry people throughout the world.'"
In honor of the late congressman, Houston Mayor
Kathy Whitmire and the
City Council will name the
new international terminal
of Houston Intercontinental Airport after Leland.
Another possible memorial is the "Leland World
Center for Hunger," a $2
million entity at Texas Southern University. Its purpose would be to conduct research and teach courses
about food distribution to geographic
sections of Third World countries.
Last month, President Bush and
other federal officials honored Leland with one of ten Presidential End
Hunger Awards given in recognition
of achievement in fighting hunger.
Leland's wife Alison accepted the
Alison Leland, having one son Jar-
rett David, has vowed to continue
the hunger-relief work her husband
started. She plans to sponsor outside
projects to feed Ethiopian children,
Newsom said. -Linda Poyner
A TRAGIC LOSS-At an airstrip in Gambela, Ethiopia, U.S. Military personnel transfer the body of the late U.S.
Representative Mickey Leland after its recovery from the crash site.Photo copyright Houston Chronicle; reprinted with