- Associated Press - Thursday, October 1, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Family members and government officials gathered at the Indiana Statehouse to honor longtime state Rep. William Crawford as his funeral services started.

Gov. Mike Pence took part in a wreath-laying ceremony Thursday as Crawford’s body lay in repose in the Statehouse Rotunda.

Crawford served 40 years as a member of the Indiana House, becoming one of the highest-ranking black politicians in state history as chairman of the influential House Ways and Means Committee. The Indianapolis Democrat retired from the House in 2012 and died Friday at age 79.

Crawford’s funeral is set for Friday at Eastern Star Church in Indianapolis.

Pence said Crawford’s leadership contributed to the strength of the state.

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