Former aides honor Bill Crawford

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Services for former state Representative Bill Crawford began at the Statehouse Thursday.

Crawford died last week at the age of 79 and is being honored as the longest serving black Lawmaker in the country.

When Bill Crawford retired from the General Assembly in 2012 it was at the end of a 40 year career in elected office.

Many of the people in line at the Statehouse worked with or for Representative Crawford.

Tammy Butler Robinson left state government to start her own management consulting firm.

“And he said I will never hold you back,” she said of Crawford, “and if you can create economic opportunities for other people go do that.”

Rep. Cherrish Pryor (D-Indianapolis) became a state lawmaker employing knowledge passed down from Bill Crawford after he recruited her to take an internship.

“I learned how to get along with people,” she said, “how to disagree with people but not be disagreeable.”

Turae Dabney went on to work with the Congressional Black Caucus.

“He was my law school, he was my graduate school,” she said, “so, he just did a lot for me, a lot for me.”

And Robin Shackleford literally picked up where Bill Crawford left off.

“When he retired,” she said, “he was the one who made sure that I replaced him in his seat.”

They are all reasons why the governor placed a wreath in front of Bill Crawford’s casket.

A ribbon on it read “Chairman Crawford” in honor of his service as chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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