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Mourners pay respect to Assemblyman David Gantt

Family, friends and constituents lined up to pay respect to one of the state’s longest-serving officials, Assemblyman David Gantt. 

Outside the Church of Love and Faith Center on Exchange Street on Friday, Thomas Gantt took a few minutes to remember his brother and their mother, Lena, who was active in antipoverty efforts in Rochester for decades through organizations like Action for a Better Community. Thomas Gantt said his brother picked up where Lena left off. 

“Coming up through the '60s, I saw a lot of things going on,” Thomas Gantt said. “I seen my mother get active and fighting for us to have a better community and once she went to fighting, she went to bring David into the fighting.”

For David Gantt, that led to a political career that started in the 1970s in the Monroe County Legislature. He was elected in the mid-'80s to the state Assembly, where he served until his death last week. 

Thomas Gantt said he hopes the next generation picks up the baton. 

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“I got grandbabies and one of them has five years of college. I’m trying to get her to lean into that fight,” he said.

A number of politicians attended the wake as well. Among them were Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, and City Councilman Malik Evans. 

Evans said he worked closely with Gantt when he was president of the Rochester Board of Education. He said Gantt provided crucial support for the district’s facility modernization program. Evans said the thing he admires most about Gantt is that Gantt was not concerned with taking credit for his achievements.

“And I hope that other elective officials model themselves after him in that way,” Evans said. “He never needed to be out front. He was all about the work,not the limelight.” 

Warren, who often called Gantt a father figure, will give a eulogy for the late assemblyman on Saturday.

James Brown is a reporter with WXXI News. James previously spent a decade in marketing communications, while freelance writing for CITY Newspaper. While at CITY, his reporting focused primarily on arts and entertainment.
Max Schulte is responsible for creating video and photo elements for WXXI News and its digital spaces. He also assists with news and public affairs coverage, digital-first video content, and studio productions.