HOUSTON – Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s long-time friend and special advisor, Keith Wade, died Thursday, the mayor’s office confirmed to KPRC 2. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tweeted that Wade died of coronavirus.
Wade, who was in his 60s, was involved in Turner’s campaigns in 2015 and 2019. He served under Turner and former Houston Mayor Annise Parker. Remembered as a mainstay in Houston politics, Wade spent his career behind the scenes, working with some of Houston’s most prominent leaders.
“Keith Wade spoke and everybody listened,” said Houston City Councilwoman Letitia Plummer.
Turner issued a statement on Wade’s passing:
“Keith and I go back 46 years, to our days on the campus of the University of Houston. After I was speaker of the student government, he was president. Our journey in politics started on the UH campus. Throughout his life, Keith championed the causes of labor, people who have been disenfranchised and he advocated for the rights of people to vote. He was instrumental in so many campaigns in all levels of government. And that is true in my case as well. He was actively involved in my 2015 campaign and when I ran for re-election in 2019. Keith served as a special advisor to both me and Mayor Annise Parker. This is a sad day for a lot of people because Keith wasn’t just a consultant or a Special Advisor. He was a friend and a brother."
As a special adviser, Wade did not hold a salaried position with Turner’s office, the mayor’s spokesperson, Mary Benton told KPRC 2. Wade had not been in the office for more than a month.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee tweeted condolences Thursday night saying a “dear and beloved friend has fallen tonight at the hands of #COVID19.”