PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Congressman Elijah Cummings was the chair of the House Oversight and Reform Committee — that’s the committee that roots out fraud and mismanagement.

In her weekly press conference, Nancy Pelosi remembered the congressman.

“He always strove to reach across the aisle of all our colleagues with respect,” she says.

Congressman Cummings was a man of the people, representing Maryland’s seventh congressional district since 1996. This is a district that includes more than half of the city of Baltimore and primarily African Americans — a district President Trump called a “disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”

Today the White House flag was lowered to half staff in tribute to the late congressman who died early Thursday morning.

From a humble beginning, born in Baltimore, the son of sharecroppers, he rose to help those who could not help themselves.

Cummings was a leading figure in the impeachment inquiry of President Trump and was often a vocal critic of President Trump and his policies.

Local developer Gil Berry says he met Congressman Cummings 5 years ago when he was asked to speak at a conference on low-income housing in Baltimore.

(Photo Credit: Gil Berry)

“He loved people of all races and he loved his constituents, he loved people,” Berry says.

“When you would see him out in public, people would just come and fall all over him and he would fall all over them.”

Recently, Cummings dealt with health challenges. In particular, a long-standing heart issue.

In the words of his wife Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who is also the chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, “He worked until his last breath.”

“We lost a true freedom fighter and I mean that. The guy was just — it was an honor when I met him,” Berry says.