Councilman Gray heaped with honor

October 23, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

A crowd of 230 people paid $75 apiece last night to fete County Councilman C. Vernon Gray, D-3rd.

"We are here to celebrate a decade of very distinguished public service," said U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. "He has done just an outstanding job in his third term" on the council.

Where Mr. Gray excels, Mr. Sarbanes said, is in his service to the state as president of the Maryland Association of Counties and in his service to the nation as a member of the National Association of Counties.

Mr. Gray has provided "really dynamic leadership -- insightful, intelligent, visionary leadership" to both organizations, said Mr. Sarbanes, a Democrat. "We have a superstar nationwide in Vernon Gray."

That kind of praise from the senator, state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein, former Philadelphia Mayor W. Wilson Goode, developer James Rouse and Reps. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-3rd, and Kweisi Mfume, D-7th, led many to wonder what office Mr. Gray might seek in future.

Mr. Gray has been rumored as a possible candidate for county executive, the state Senate and the Maryland House of Delegates.

When asked about his political future, Mr. Gray smiled. "I'm concerned about serving on the council" right now, he said. "It's the only thing I'm concerned about."

"My family taught me hard work, dedication and commitment," Mr. Gray told supporters. "I like to think I excel in difficult times. I like the challenge.

"I am overwhelmed and deeply honored by you, the citizens of this county. It's a great trust. . . . It's been a great 10 years and I look forward . . . to another 10 years."

Although billed as a tribute to Mr. Gray, the festivities at a local country club were very much a fund-raiser.

For their $75, guests were given wine, beer or soda and finger food from four tables. Each table had essentially the same

spread: cubed cheeses, sliced fruit, meatballs, chicken wings, fried butterfly shrimp, canapes and assorted vegetables.

Teen-agers stationed at the doors passed out literature touting Mr. Gray's accomplishments. They wore gray vests with G-R-A-Y spelled down the front in blue letters and "Re-elect C. Vernon Gray, County Council" on the back.

None of the speakers mentioned a specific future office for Mr. Gray, but instead celebrated his accomplishments.

"Very few politicians measure up to Vernon," said Mr. Goode, the first black mayor of Philadelphia and a freshman classmate of Mr. Gray at Morgan State University 36 years ago.

"He knows how to provide service to those who put him in office," Mr. Goode said. "He's a good man -- keep him there."

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