Today, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.) issued the following statement on the passing of former Representative William H. Gray (D-Pa.), the first African American to Chair the House Budget Committee as well as the first to serve as majority whip in the House of Representatives:
"I offer my condolences and deepest sympathies to the family of Former Congressman Bill Gray during this difficult time. Bill was the very essence of a public servant and a tireless advocate who understood that the capacity to impact lives doesn't just reside in the title or position you hold. Whether it was serving in the halls of Congress, heading the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) or pastoring at the Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia, Bill Gray always made a difference in the lives of those who sought his wise counsel.
"He leaves behind a rich legacy and generations of citizens both at home and abroad who have benefitted from his service. Our world is a better place because in Congress Bill led the fight against apartheid and pressed the United States to limit funding to South Africa during that time. The United States is a stronger country because of the young people he helped to send to college while serving at the helm of the UNCF. It was truly an honor and a privilege to have met him and I will always value the counsel he provided to me and my staff."