On January 3, Louie Minor was sworn in as Bell County’s Precinct 4 Commissioner—the first openly gay county commissioner in the state of Texas. He is also the first Latino on the Bell County Commissioners Court.
Bell County, a predominately white and Republican area of Central Texas, has voted for every Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan. However, Bell County’s largest city, Killeen, is a Democratic stronghold and every elected official in Precinct 4—which includes Killeen—is a Democrat.
Born to a large Mexican-American family in Belton, Texas (the Bell County seat), the 43-year-old Minor is an Iraq War veteran who later worked in the United States Department of Homeland Security’s National Operation Center as an Incident Management Officer. But when family and the political bug called, he returned to Bell County and started a general contracting company in Killeen with his daughter Alexandra. He earned his master’s degree in public administration from Norwich University in 2013, and he majored in criminal justice during his undergraduate studies in Texas.
“I have been in politics for over ten years and have run for various offices,” Minor says. “I have been a public servant for most of my adult life. I was a police officer, an Army officer, and an incident-management officer. The ability to effect change in your community and bring diversity in the decision-making process will only make for better decisions.
“Over the ten years that I have run for office, this is probably the most troubling time. I feel that the LGBT community as a whole is under assault, and leaders at every level of government must stand for righteousness and equality.” Minor faced vandalism at his campaign office back in September, but he attributes that incident to his Democratic Party affiliation as opposed to being gay.
“I believe running for office over the years took the novelty off of [the fact that I’m openly] gay,” he said. “The only time that it was mentioned in the press is when I received the Victory Fund endorsement. My strategy was always to support the underserved and underrepresented. As far as running as an openly gay candidate, being gay never came up during my race in public forums. This is because when you stay engaged with the community, the public observes the passion to help and serve.
“I do find it interesting that the first openly gay county commissioner in the state did not come from Harris, Dallas, Tarrant, Travis, or Bexar County. It came from Bell County,” he adds.
Minor is looking forward to hitting the ground running, and has several priorities already lined up. “The County is currently in the design stage for a new annex in Killeen,” he says. “As commissioner, I will be intimately involved with the designing and building to meet the needs of Killeen for the next several decades. I’m also involved with small-business initiatives, and I want to make a push for local women, minority, veteran, and Historically Underutilized Businesses that are actively sought when purchasing goods and services.”
Public transportation is another priority for Minor. “Bell County’s public transportation system is currently lacking,” he notes. “I would like to work on a rapid-transit authority for the County.”
And he is adamant about removing the last vestiges of Confederate memorials in the area. “Fort Hood has a new name as of 2023. It is Fort Cavazos, named for the first Latino four-star general. Bell County touts its support and love of the military, and I believe this is a needed move in solidarity.”
There is also a controversial Confederate monument on the Bell County Courthouse grounds that has faced repeated attempts to remove it. “There is not a majority of support for removing the Confederate statue, but that will not deter me,” he emphasizes. “I have four years to keep this issue [on the agenda].
“Decriminalizing marijuana is another issue. Killeen and Harker Heights voted in the November election to decriminalize by ordinance. Bell County Commissioners Court voted last month to sue Killeen over that ordinance. This will affect Austin, San Marcos, Denton, and Elgin, who [all] have voter-approved decriminalization ordinances.”
Minor certainly has a lot to accomplish in his first term. In addition to being focused on some thorny issues, he is also engaged to his boyfriend, Jacob. And he doesn’t rule out runs for higher offices in the future.
“I enjoy my business and politics,” Minor concludes. “If you love what you do, it will never be work.”