Tributes continue to roll in Thursday morning for Assemblyman David Gantt. The 78-year-old died on Wednesday. He spent his life helping the Rochester community for decades, his death is a major blow to the Rochester community. Earlier this year, Gantt announced he was not running for re-election, but he had no plans of slowing down, despite battling kidney disease.
“I’ve had a good time,” Gantt said. “Done a lot of work, and absolutely will miss it. I’ll do it in a different way.”
Gantt was considered the dean of the Rochester Assembly Delegation and a man who fought for “his people,” as he called his constituents.
One of five boys, he was the son of well know civil rights and community activist Lena Gantt. He was also the chairman of the powerful Transportation Committee and had a history of battling for affordable housing and health care.
“He was a very passionate man and a very sensitive man,” President and CEO of Jordan Health Center Janice Harbin. “What I loved about him, he was a fighter [for] what he believes in and had [a] passion in he fought for with all of his heart, with all of his might.”
Gantt promoted business ownership for people of color and pushed for mayoral control of the city school district.
“It feels heavy,” WDKX’s Andria Langston said. “This man has been a part of the community for decades. He was a strong man, he was very knowledgeable and cared a lot about the community and city.”
Gantt will also be remembered for the way he encouraged and helped to groom young politicians. Monroe County Executive Adam Bello released a statement saying:
“Throughout his decorated 37-year career in the state legislature, Assemblyman Gantt was a fighter, a voice for the voiceless and a mentor to numerous community leaders, elected officials and everyday citizens alike.”
Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren spoke about the death of her close friend and father figure saying in part:
“I am proud of him, for all that he did to lift as he climbed. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten. I will always remember his undying love for the Rochester community. He fought a good fight, finished his race and now he has gone home to be with the Lord.”
Rochester City Council President Loretta Scott agreed saying:
“As the first black leader from Monroe County elected to state office, David changed the landscape of our community and gave a voice to the disenfranchised. As an elected official, he fought for affordable housing, voting rights, access to healthcare, reliable infrastructure and safe neighborhoods.”
Gantt’s office did send News10NBC a statement but did not mention how he died. We’re expected to learn more about funeral arrangements in the coming days.