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Joyce B.
Democrat OH 3

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  • Celebrating Bill Gray

    by Representative Joyce Beatty

    Posted on 2013-07-08

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    BEATTY. Mr. Speaker, I would also like to thank my colleague, Mr. Fattah, for leading the CBC's celebration of Congressman William H. Gray, III's life and legacy. Our nation has lost a strong community leader and devoted public servant.



    Elected to the House of Representatives in 1978, Congressman Bill Gray proudly served the citizens of Pennsylvania's Second Congressional District for over ten remarkable [[Page H4200]] years. As a Member of Congress, he was a tireless advocate for the people of Philadelphia and a pioneer for a new generation of African- American elected officials.

    He was a trailblazer who fought to protect the most vulnerable individuals in his community, in our country, and around the world.

    During his tenure in Congress, Congressman Gray later became Chairman of the Democratic Caucus and Majority Whip for the party. With these Leadership positions, he became the highest-ranking African American ever to serve in Congress. His congressional record and service continues to inspire us all. During the four years he served as Chair of the House Budget Committee, Congressman Gray was the chief point man in budget negotiations between the Democratic Congress and the Reagan Administration. He was no stranger to reaching across the aisle to build consensus and work in a bipartisan manner.

    He wielded his Budget Committee gavel for the good of the international community pressing for more economic aid for Africa and leading the critique of South African apartheid.

    As a staunch supporter of education, he was a key advocate for strengthening and improving our nation's schools.

    Upon his retirement from Congress, Representative Gray became president and chief executive officer of the United Negro College Fund from 1991 to 2004, where he led the Fund to new fund-raising records while cutting costs and expanding programs and services.

    Congressman Gray was truly transformative for our communities and especially for our young people.

    In 1994, President Clinton appointed Congressman Gray as a special advisor to Haiti and in that role he assisted President Clinton in developing and carrying out policy to restore democracy to Haiti. Due to his service, in 1995, the Congressman received the Medal of Honor from the Haitian government.

    Congressman Gray's lifelong commitment to his community, to public service, and to his family was truly admirable and inspirational. To his wife, Andrea, his three sons and his many grandchildren, know that you are in our hearts and our prayers. And, I say to you, celebrate Bill's life, because he lived a life that was full of honor and integrity. Not only did he inspire each one of us with his service, he inspired the Nation.

    I am truly privileged to be able to stand here and honor Congressman Gray.

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