“Part of my job is to help them understand the context,” Green said. “I helped them understand that this is fresh in his mind and that he wanted to talk about it.”
In the lecture, Gray shared his expertise on D.C.’s economy, listing facts on the District’s bond ratings and touched on early childhood education, a topic his administration worked to improve. Gray served on the committees for economic development and health and human services during his time on the Council from 2005 to 2011.
Gray said during his time as mayor he was proud of bringing down chronic unemployment in Ward 8 to 16 percent, an improvement of 10 points. He wanted to alleviate some of the pessimism associated with these areas by modernizing their high schools and hoped to make the low crime rates present in some parts of the city uniform across all areas of D.C.
“It was also about relationships with communities in which people felt good about the communities in which they live,” Gray said.
Jack Evans, Foggy Bottom’s Council member, said he and Gray have been long-time friends who have talked several times since Gray left office. They worked together on the Council as Evans served as the chair of the Council’s finance committee.
“Vince is a really good, smart guy, always well prepared,” Evans said. “We’ve had very positive relations.”
Gray has also been working on several academic papers outlining topics like leadership, education reform and gentrification in D.C.
Gray said he shared his work on reforming the public education system with David Osborne, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, who is working on a book called “Reinventing America’s Schools.”
Osborne said he had initially met Gray while doing a workshop for Gray’s mayoral staff. He said he wanted to consult Gray on the book because of Gray’s passion for education and charter school reform.
“He doesn’t really think or act like a politician,” Osborne said. “He’s an intelligent guy who cares about helping people.”