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Democrats plan for annual dinner

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By BOB HANSEN - bhansen@newsexaminer.com

The Fayette County Democratic Party is renaming its largest annual event in honor of a local political leader.

The party's Finly Gray Dinner will be Friday, April 26, at the John H. Miller Center. It has been known as the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner, in honor of two of America's early presidents.

The guest speaker will be Vop Osili, an architect who is president of the Marion County City-County Council in Indianapolis. Osili, 58, ran for Indiana secretary of state in 2010 and is active in a number of public service and non-profit organizations.

Democratic county chair Tim Rose said the local party decided to rename its dinner in honor of a man who was deeply involved in Fayette County leadership for decades.

Born near Orange in 1863, Gray became a lawyer and set up practice in Connersville. He served as mayor of Connersville from 1904-1910. Gray was elected as a Democrat to a total of six terms in Congress, from 1911-1917 and again from 1933-1939.

He and his wife restored the Canal House and resided there from 1936 to 1947. At 111 E. 4th St., it is now a local history museum. 

Finley Gray and his wife, Mary Alice Green, had a daughter, Mary Gray. The couple gave the family farm to the Indiana Audubon Society in honor of their daughter and it is now the Mary Gray Bird Sanctuary.

 

The dinner will start at 5 p.m. April 26. Tickets cost $25 and are on sale at Fayette County Democratic Headquarters, 426 Central Ave., and from members of the county committee.