Vincent Gray to be D.C. Mayor

Vincent Gray at podium
November 03, 2010

George Washington University graduate Vincent Gray, B.S. ’64, will be the District of Columbia’s next mayor.

Currently chairman of the D.C. Council, Mr. Gray defeated three candidates to win in yesterday’s general election.

Mr. Gray defeated incumbent mayor Adrian Fenty in the September Democratic primary.

“The George Washington University congratulates District of Columbia Mayor-elect Vincent Gray,” says President Steven Knapp. “We look forward to working with his administration to meet our shared goals, including improving public health and expanding educational opportunity in the District of Columbia.”

Several GW community members celebrated with Mr. Gray Tuesday evening at a Democratic election party at Love, a nightclub in Northeast D.C.

“Tonight I am humbled and honored to stand before you as the next mayor of the District of Columbia,” said Gray to a cheering crowd. “I want to thank you all for your belief that we can be ‘One City.’”

At GW, Mr. Gray became the first black member of a university fraternity and later served as president of Tau Epsilon Phi for two consecutive terms. He studied psychology in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences. In 2009, he was awarded the university’s Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

“My goal to make the District ‘One City’ is rooted in my time at George Washington University as a student,” said Mr. Gray. “I look forward to continued support of the GW community.”

Mr. Gray has served as executive director of the D.C. Association for Retarded Citizens and director of the D.C. Department of Human Services. He also co-founded Covenant House, a youth services nonprofit organization.

“The celebration was fantastic. It was exciting to witness a GW alum become mayor of our nation’s capital,” said Corey Barenbrugge, B.A. ’09, a Presidential Administrative Fellow and graduate student in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration within Columbian College.

Hundreds of Mr. Gray’s supporters gathered at Love Tuesday evening to celebrate, including GW alumna Dwan Tai, Ph.D. ’73. Dr. Tai, who studied economics and international relations at GW, called Mr. Gray getting elected “very inspirational.”

“It’s a real success story,” said Ms. Tai. “You meet so many fascinating people at GW, and a lot of them are interested in public service. And now Mr. Gray will be building ‘One City.’”

Not only is Mr. Gray an alumnus, but alumni of GW’s Graduate School of Political Management also helped spearhead his campaign. Adam Rubinson, M.A. ’88, was Mr. Gray’s campaign manager. Mo Elleithee, M.A. ’96, served as chief spokesperson, while Ian Koski, M.A. ’04, was the campaign’s head of digital strategies.

Mary Cheh, a professor at GW’s Law School, was re-elected Tuesday as councilwoman for Ward 3. Ms. Cheh, the Elyce Zenoff Research Professor of Law, was first elected in 2006. She defeated Republican candidate Dave Hedgepeth.

“I’m absolutely delighted that I can continue many of the projects and initiatives I have started and serve the residents of Ward 3 and the District for the next four years,” said Ward 3 Councilmember Ms. Cheh.

Other alumni secured victories in races across the country. Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) defeated Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle. Mr. Reid, J.D. ’64, will now serve his fifth term in the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), J.D. ’52, was re-elected to his ninth Senate term.

U.S. Reps. Jason Altmire (D-Pa.), MPHA ’98; Eric Cantor (R-Va.), B.A. ’85; Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), B.A. ’63; and Jimmy Duncan (R-Tenn.), J.D. ’73, also won their races.

“We are proud of our alumni who come to GW with a passion for changing the world and go on to serve their communities,” says Dr. Knapp.

At his victory party, Mr. Gray said he plans to focus on continuing school reform, getting more police officers on the street and decreasing unemployment.

“These are our shared challenges, but the people of our city are resilient and optimistic, and there’s nothing we can’t accomplish by working together,” said Mr. Gray.

Michael Brown, D.C.’s at-large councilmember, said GW will play an even bigger role in the city now that Mr. Gray is mayor.

“GW does such great work in the city already, but the fact that Vincent Gray is now mayor…GW will play a bigger role in moving the city forward,” said Mr. Brown.

Mr. Gray has tapped Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, president emeritus and university professor of public service, to co-chair a task force on economic development for the mayor’s office. GW students are also working in Mr. Gray’s transition office.

Mr. Gray promised his supporters Tuesday evening that he will work hard every day to honor the trust placed in him, but he asked his supporters to do something in return.

“Get involved in our city and hold all of us accountable for the progress you expect,” he said.

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