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William Lacy Clay, Jr.

William Lacy Clay
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2001
Preceded by William L. Clay, Sr.
Member of the Missouri Senate
from the 4th district
In office
September 1991 – January 2001
Preceded by John Bass
Succeeded by Pat Dougherty
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
from the 59th district
In office
November 1983 – September 1991
Succeeded by Frank Williamson Sr.
Personal details
Born (1956-07-27) July 27, 1956 (age 58)
St. Louis, Missouri
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Ivie Lewellen Clay (divorced)
Residence St. Louis, Missouri
Alma mater University of Maryland, College Park
Occupation Paralegal
Religion Roman Catholic

William Lacy Clay, Jr., usually known as Lacy Clay (born July 27, 1956) is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's 1st congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

The district is based in the city of St. Louis and includes most of northern St. Louis County (North County), taking in cities such as Maryland Heights, University City, and Florissant.

Early life, education and career

Clay, Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri,[1] but his family moved to Washington, D.C. when his father, Bill Clay, was elected to U.S. Congress.

In his teenage years, Clay Jr. attended public schools in Silver Spring, Maryland and graduated in the Springbrook High School Class of 1974. He then attended the University of Maryland-College Park, from which he earned a degree in political science and certification to be a paralegal. Clay is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Missouri Legislature

Clay entered the Missouri House of Representatives in 1983, the same year that he graduated. While serving, he studied at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government but did not obtain a degree.[2] In 1991, he was elected to the Missouri Senate.

U.S. House of Representatives

In 2000, Clay, Sr. retired after 32 years in the U.S. Congress. Clay, Jr. won a crowded six-way Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic district—with 60 percent of the vote, and breezed to election in November. He has been reelected six times with no substantive opposition, never dropping below 70 percent of the vote.

For his first six terms, Clay, Jr. represented the northern two-thirds of St. Louis, while the southern third was located in the 3rd district, represented by fellow Democrat Russ Carnahan. However, Missouri lost a congressional district as a result of the 2010 Census. The final map resulted in the 3rd district being eliminated and the 1st district absorbing all of St. Louis.[3] Clay beat Carnahan in the August 7, 2012 primary, 63% to 34%--all but handing him a seventh term.[4][5]

Committee assignments

Caucus memberships

Since his first term, Clay has been a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He currently chairs the House Information Policy Subcommittee. He is also a member of the House Financial Services Committee. Ordinarily, House Democrats who serve on the Financial Services Committee would have to give up their other committee assignments. However, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank of Massachusetts granted him a waiver allowing him to remain on the Oversight Committee.

Clay made headlines in early 2007 when, as a member of the Congressional Black Caucus (co-founded by his father), he objected to the possible inclusion of U.S. Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee, a Caucasian who represents the majority-African American district in Memphis and had made a campaign promise to attempt to become the first white member of the CBC. Although it is not part of the CBC's bylaws that members must be black, all members so far have been black.[6] Clay told Cohen "that he could not collaborate with the Congressional Black Caucus for the benefit of his black constituents 'until your skin turns black.'"[7] In response to press inquiries, he said, "Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. He's white and the Caucus is black. It's time to move on. We have racial policies to pursue and we are pursuing them, as Mr. Cohen has learned. It's an unwritten rule. It's understood." In response to the decision, Cohen stated, "It's their caucus and they do things their way. You don't force your way in."[6] Clay issued an official statement from his office in reply to Cohen's complaint: "Quite simply, Rep. Cohen will have to accept what the rest of the country will have to accept — there has been an unofficial Congressional White Caucus for over 200 years, and now it's our turn to say who can join 'the club.' He does not, and cannot, meet the membership criteria, unless he can change his skin color. Primarily, we are concerned with the needs and concerns of the black population, and we will not allow white America to infringe on those objectives." Some have said that since Cohen represents a district with 60 percent of African American voters, that he has a legitimate interest in helping the goals of the CBC, and the decision should not be solely based on skin color.[6]

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington issued a report in June 2007 saying that Clay's sister Michelle Clay is a registered lobbyist for the Kansas City airport and previously for the city of St. Louis. They reported that in the 2006 election cycle, Michelle Clay's law office, Clay and Associates, received $51,800 in consulting fees from her brother's campaign funds, along with an additional $9,963 for reimbursements. In the 2004 election cycle, Michelle Clay's firm received $52,514 for consulting, and in 2002 Michelle Clay herself was paid $32,00 for campaign management and legal fees. During the 2004 election, Clay's campaign reimbursed his father more than $6,000 for book purchases.[8]

Political positions

Clay, Jr.'s voting record has been decidedly progressive, like that of his father. He is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, of which his father was a founding member.

During Clay's previous 17 years in the state legislature, he authored Missouri's Hate Crimes Law which included gender, sexual orientation and sexual identity in the criteria of what constitutes a hate crime.

Clay made it clear that he supports the Employment Nondiscrimination Act which would make it illegal to discriminate against employees of any sexual orientation, notably gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered workers. He also noted that he believes that the 33 states that are allowed to fire employees due to sexual orientation are in the wrong.

Clay has been a consistent critic of the War in Iraq and was among those who voted against the Iraq War Resolution in 2002. Clay's NPAT also displays disagreement with elements of the War on Drugs. He believes that government reform is necessary to make sure every citizen's voice is heard. Clay also continues to fight for programs that will improve that status of the poor, including initiatives to allow lower-class people to purchase homes.

Clay is also active in election reform and believes that any electronic voting system must include a paper trail to verify the results.

Clay added his name as cosponsor to a bill calling for the impeachment of Vice President Dick Cheney, House Resolution 333.

He was one of the 31 members in the U.S. House of Representatives who voted not to count the electoral votes from Ohio in the 2004 presidential election.[9]

Lacy Clay voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[10]

Clay is a supporter of the Federal Reserve's program of quantitative easing and claims that it has led to economic recovery since the financial crisis of 2008.[11]

Electoral history

Missouri's 1st congressional district: Results 2000–2010[12]
Year Democrat Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct
2000 William Lacy Clay 149,173 75.21 Z. Dwight Billingsly 42,730 21.54% Ziah Reddick Green 3,099 1.56% Tamara A. Millay Libertarian 2,253 1.14% Robert Penningroth Reform 1,092 0.55%
2002 William Lacy Clay 133,946 70.11% Richard Schwadron 51,755 27.09% Jim Higgins Libertarian 5,354 2.80%
2004 William Lacy Clay 213,658 75.29% Leslie L. Farr II 64,791 22.83% Terry Chadwick Libertarian 3,937 1.39% Robert Rehbein Constitution 1,385 0.49%
2006 William Lacy Clay 141,574 72.89% Mark J. Byrne 47,893 24.66% Robb E. Cunningham Libertarian 4,768 2.45%
2008 William Lacy Clay 242,570 86.86% (no candidate) Robb E. Cunningham Libertarian 36,700 13.14% Write-ins 7 0.00%
2010 William Lacy Clay 135,907 73.55% Robyn Hamlin 43,649 23.62% Julie Stone Libertarian 5,223 2.83%

Personal life

Clay married his wife Ivie in 1992, when he was a state senator.[13] He filed for divorce in 2009.[14] Ivie initially found out about the divorce "only through the media."[13] After Clay had the court file sealed, Ivie released the following statement to the media:

I and my children are devastated and embarrassed that my husband let us find out from the children’s friends and the media that he had filed for divorce, and mostly that he still has not contacted our children. I would have wanted to prepare the children. I have been a loving, supportive wife throughout our 17-year marriage. I have raised the children and held down the fort so that my husband could work 4 days a week, first in Jefferson City and now in Washington, DC, travel overseas, and do everything required to fulfill the duties of his elected office – all while working my own full-time job. [13]

Clay responded today, saying:

"This is a time of great sadness for my family and me. My wife and I have been discussing this situation for a number of months and this action should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Of course, my first concern is for our children, whom I love dearly, and for their peace & privacy. I will continue to be a devoted father to them, and I hope that the public will understand that this is a difficult, private family matter that will hopefully be resolved amicable and swiftly by all parties." [13]

The Clays have two children Will and Carol.[14]


External links

  • Congressman William Lacy Clay official U.S. House site
  • Lacy Clay Jr. for Congress
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Ballotpedia
  • NNDB
  • Project Vote Smart
  • GovTrack
  • OpenCongress
  • Roll Call
  • Federal Election Commission
  • The Washington Post
  • On the Issues
  • The Library of Congress
  • The Washington Post
  • WorldCat catalog)
  • C-SPAN programs
  • The Washington Post
  • SourceWatch
Preceded by
William L. Clay, Sr.
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 1st congressional district

January 3, 2001 – present
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Shelley Moore Capito
R-West Virginia
United States Representatives by seniority
Succeeded by
Ander Crenshaw
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