Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04) released the following statement following the sudden passing of William H. Gray this week:
"My heart and prayers go out to the friends and family of Congressman Gray. He leaves behind a legacy that does not receive as much attention, or as much praise, as it deserves.
Congressman Gray was a pioneer for African-Americans serving in public office. Coming to Washington in the post-Civil Rights Movement era, he broke down barriers to become the first African-American chair of the House Committee on the Budget and the first African-American Majority Whip. While facing discrimination, he emphasized the importance of changing the status quo by never giving up.
Serving in the House of Representatives for 12 years, he championed the spirit of bipartisanship by passing budgets with votes from both parties.
Congressman Gray was passionate, articulate, and dedicated to the belief that everyone in a position of power was responsible to the people for accomplishing concrete initiatives. He bridged ideological gaps, pushed for greater accountability, and fought against social injustice.
Though I never knew Congressman Gray personally, he leaves behind a reputation of courage and integrity. His service to Pennsylvania, and to the American people, will never be forgotten. He will be greatly missed."