In His Last Days as Mayor, Gray Says Goodbye at Parties, Ribbon Cuttings

As Vincent Gray ends his time as Mayor of Washington, D.C., he has been on a kind of farewell tour of the city which he served for four years as chief executive and earlier as District Council Chairman.

Moving from Georgetown to Shaw and beyond, whether at evening receptions, radio talk shows or ribbon-cutting ceremonies, Gray is saying good-bye with a hearty handshake to friends and acknowledging his achievements — and the bittersweet tug that he would have liked to serve four more years.

Gray was seen at the Dec. 19 Duke Ellington School groundbreaking, even though construction work on the school has been underway for some time. On hand, of course, were notables, including D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson and Ellington School co-founder Peggy Cafritz.

On Dec. 22, Gray was given a high-spirited tribute by the entire D.C. Hospitality Alliance at Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place. The heavy-hitter group is composed of Events D.C., Destination D.C., Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington and the Hotel Association of Washington, D.C., and hosted the event at the 25-year-old restaurant on the Georgetown waterfront.

Officials, politicians and well-wishers applauded Gray for his years of service, as they focused on his support of projects that built up downtown and benefitted neighborhoods, increasing residents, visitors and the tax base.

With jokes and friendly banter all around, Gray, a happy warrior for his city, took the microphone at Tony and Joe’s. He mentioned his official farewell speech on Dec. 17 on Dunbar High School. “I got carried away,” he said. “It was the longest speech I’ve ever given.” The mayor went on to say that D.C. was the hottest commodity in the nation, and those in the convention, hotel and restaurant business agreed.

On his third to last day, Gray was seen in Shaw for a round of 17 ribbon cuttings — some for new businesses, others for renovated storefronts. His last full day as mayor is on New Year’s Day.

Muriel Bowser becomes D.C.’s seventh popularly elected mayor Jan. 2.

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