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Pelosi Statement on Passing of Former Congressman Bill Gray

San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement tonight on the passing of former Philadelphia Congressman and House Majority Whip William Gray:

"Congressman Bill Gray was, in a word, a giant – of Philadelphia, of the Congress, of our country.  He was a leader and a trailblazer, a proud representative of the people of Philadelphia, a man who left his mark on the history of his city.  His time in Congress was an extension of the family business: serving the community, acting on the values of his faith, giving back to his neighbors and to the less fortunate.

"In the House of Representatives Congressman Gray will forever stand as a Member of firsts – the first African American to serve as Chair of the Budget Committee and the first to rise to the rank of Majority Whip.  He sounded the alarm not only about the injustice of apartheid in South Africa, but about what America and Congress could do to end it.  He broadened the reach of his public service beyond Congress, helping send more young people to college as President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund.

"To serve alongside Bill Gray was to be inspired by his passion and commitment, by his focus on the future and his belief in the common good.  It was an honor and a privilege to know him as a colleague and a friend.  We only hope it is a comfort to his wife, Andrea, his three sons, and his family and loved ones that so many share in their grief at this sad time."