Stephanie Young, 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement on the passing of former Congressman and House Majority Whip Wiliam "Bill" Gray:
"I was deeply saddened to learn of former Rep. William Gray's sudden passing. Bill was a dear friend and a trailblazer as the first African American Majority Whip. He drew on his deep faith as a pastor - who continued to minister to his flock even while serving them in Congress - and on the bitter memories of segregation during his childhood in Louisiana and Florida to become a leading moral voice against apartheid in South Africa. As the first African American Chairman of the Budget Committee, Bill moved legislation forward to impose sanctions on South Africa and demand the end of its unjust apartheid system. He was also instrumental in negotiating the budget agreement in 1990 that helped reduce the deficit and lay the groundwork for the balanced budgets of the following decade. After leaving Congress, Bill made a significant difference in the lives of so many young people as CEO of the United Negro College Fund, where he helped raise over $2.3 billion over thirteen years for African American students pursuing higher education.
"Bill was a wonderful colleague and friend, and he will be greatly missed by all who had the pleasure of serving alongside him. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Andrea; their sons, William, Justin, and Andrew; and the people of Philadelphia whom he served with such distinction."