A number of people have e-mailed and called about the death of former City Councilman Phil Reed.
He was an openly gay African-American official elected in 1997 to represent a district that includes parts of East Harlem, the Upper West Side and South Bronx – well outside the traditional gay political power base of the West Village, Chelsea or the Lower East Side.
At the moment, there is only one openly gay lawmaker elected to office outside of Manhattan: Assemblyman Matt Titone of Staten Island.
Bill Thompson and Christine Quinn, who worked with him and knew him fairly well, have already issued statements, and gay activists have been talking about Reed’s passing for most of the day.
Here’s more on Reed:
“I am saddened to learn of the death of my former colleague in government Phil Reed. Phil was a man of exceptional conviction, and I was always grateful for the opportunity to work with him to improve the lives of so many New Yorkers. Whether it was to address steep childhood asthma rates or create more affordable housing, Phil brought an unmatched passion to any task at hand. He was a true New York City leader.”
The City Council has learned with profound sorrow of the passing of former Council Member Philip Reed. Council Member Reed was a dear friend to countless New Yorkers and a passionately dedicated public servant for many years.
An ardent and tireless pioneer for LGBT rights, Council Member Reed always proudly delivered what he promised to the constituents of his Upper Manhattan community. Serving the people of East Harlem and Manhattan Valley for eight years, he made an extraordinary difference in the quality of life for all New Yorkers, especially with his work to reduce asthma, increase affordable housing, improve neighborhood parks, and keep local museums and cultural institutions in Harlem.
Through his passion, service and example, Council Member Reed will always be remembered for the indelible mark he left on this body and on our City.
“Like many New Yorkers, I lost a friend yesterday when former New York City Councilman Phil Reed died, but the entire City lost a passionate advocate for important public causes. From the communities of Harlem of East Harlem, from the leadership of the Hetrick Martin Institute, and from the floor of the Council, Phil had the savvy and smarts to get results on the issues he fought for. While Phil and I didn’t agree on every issue, we worked together to craft bold AIDS policies, fight childhood asthma, and – once – put on a pretty good Inner Circle Show. If it weren’t for Phil Reed, we would never have been able to move the Department of Education next to City Hall, which has been a key part of our ability to introduce accountability into our schools and turn around a system that had failed our children for generations. Phil’s legacy will live on in the results of his work, and my thoughts and prayers are with his family and loved ones.”
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