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Illinois Congressman Ken Gray Dies at 89

Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

A man who represented southern Illinois for decades in Congress has passed away.

U.S. Rep. Ken Gray was known as the "Prince of Pork." The West Frankfort Democrat won election to Congress for the first time in 1954, and served twenty years. He went back again in 1984.

Gray was unapologetic in his efforts to bring money back to his district - what many call pork projects.

"I'll tell you when I'll quit knocking on doors to bring money back,” he said. “That's when they quit taking it out of your pockets and sending it down to Washington. As long as they send it there, I'm going to fight like the Devil to bring it back for jobs, and for programs designed to help our people here in the beautiful 22nd  Congressional District."

Gray's "pork" includes the creation of Rend Lake, Interstate 57, a federal prison, and other facilities - to the tune of roughly $7 billion for southern Illinois.

A WWII veteran, Gray was a graduate of Frankfort Community High School.

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