Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement today 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 dedicated leadership benefited the people of Philadelphia. He never lost sight of the needs of those in the urban community. Through one of his non-profits, the Union Housing Corporation, he was instrumental in developing housing for low and middle residents. He was committed to making sure that Philadelphia residents had access to quality, reliable transportation. Amtrak's 30th Street Station is one of the best, most efficiently run train facilities in the nation because of Gray's commitment to investing federal resources in America's infrastructure.
"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.
"Bill Gray was my friend. Bill was a man of unshakeable faith, a towering spiritual leader through his lifelong commitment to the Bright Hope Baptist Church. His strong, powerful and influential voice will be missed in Philadelphia and around the nation. 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 time."