A native Washingtonian, Vincent C. Gray has tirelessly advocated for the residents of the District of Columbia for more than 30 years. His dedication to children and their families has been the hallmark of his service in both city government and the non-profit sector. His lifetime of public service to the District can be best summed up by a singular governing philosophy—that the District of Columbia works best as “One City.”
On November 8, 2016, Vincent C. Gray was again elected to represent his home ward on the Council of the District of Columbia. He received 83 percent of the vote. On January 2, 2011, he was sworn in as the sixth elected Mayor of the District of Columbia. Mayor Gray ran for office on a platform of restoring fiscal responsibility to city government, creating jobs and boosting economic development, providing a quality public education to all District children, and building safe communities. Throughout his four years in office, Mayor Gray aggressively moved the District forward towards his vision of a more prosperous, equitable, safe, and sustainable city for all.
Despite being scouted in high school by two Major League Baseball teams, Gray chose to continue his education, studying clinical psychology at The George Washington University at both the undergraduate and graduate school levels. While at George Washington, he became the first African-American admitted in the GW fraternity system, and in his junior and senior years, became the first person to serve consecutive terms as Chancellor of Tau Epsilon Phi.
Gray began his professional career with the Arc of DC (then known as the Association for Retarded Citizens). At the Arc, he successfully advocated for innovative policy initiatives on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and spearheaded the closure of the District-run Forest Haven institution for people with mental retardation, after it was exposed for poor conditions and abuse of residents. In 1991, then-Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly appointed Gray to the post of Director of the Department of Human Services. As Director, he oversaw the functions of a 7,000-person department and directed activities related to Public Health, Social Services, Mental Health Services and Health Care Finance. In December 1994, he became the founding Executive Director of Covenant House Washington, an international, faith-based organization dedicated to serving homeless and at-risk youth.
Gray’s dedication to his community and the residents of Ward 7 inspired his first successful campaign for elected office in 2004, when he handily defeated the incumbent in the primary. During his first term as the Councilmember from Ward 7, he chaired a Special Committee on the Prevention of Youth Violence and created the Effi Barry HIV/AIDS Initiative. Two years after joining the Council, Gray ran for the citywide office of Chairman of the Council. Running on the theme of “One City,” he continued his focus on uniting the diverse racial and economic groups in his hometown. He won the general election with 98 percent of the vote. As Chairman, Gray was a leader in efforts to improve the Council’s operations, transparency and oversight capacity, and was a true champion for school reform. He spearheaded the Pre-K Expansion and Enhancement Act, which established a high-quality early childhood education program to provide 2,000 new classroom slots for three-and four-year-olds over six years. Gray’s diligence resulted in that goal being met in September of 2010, well before the 2014 target. Gray has lived in the Hillcrest neighborhood of Ward 7 for more than 25 years. He has two children, Jonice Gray Tucker and Vincent Carlos Gray, by his late wife, Loretta, who was an outstanding educator in the DC Public Schools system, and two grandchildren. He is currently married to Dr. Dawn Kum, an educator and founder of a therapeutic school for students with emotional disabilities.