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Biography William Lacy Clay

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William Lacy Clay William Lacy Clay
William Lacy Clay
The U.S. Representative for Missouri's 1st congressional district, serving since 2001.
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William Lacy Clay Biography

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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 includes the northern two-thirds of the city of St. Louis as well as most of northern St. Louis County (North County), taking in cities such as Maryland Heights, University City, and Florissant.

St. Louis lost considerable population in the 2010 Census which contributed to Missouri losing a Congressional seat effective 2013. Initial redistricting indicates that the other St. Louis district -- the 3rd district -- would be absorbed into the 1st district placing Clay and Russ Carnahan in the same district.

 

Early life, education and career

Clay, Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri, 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. In 1991, he was elected to the Missouri Senate.

 

U.S. House of Representatives

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. 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.'" 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." 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.

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.

 

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.

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

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.

 

Political campaigns

In 2000, Clay, Sr. retired after 32 years in the U.S. Congress. Clay, Jr. won a crowded six-way Democratic primary with an unexpectedly large 60 percent of the vote, which was tantamount to election in this heavily Democratic district. He has been reelected four times with no substantive opposition, never dropping below 70 percent of the vote. In 2008, he was opposed by a Libertarian candidate and won the election with 93 percent of the vote.

Clay was challenged by Republican nominee Robyn Hamlin and Libertarian nominee Julie Stone.

 

Personal life

Clay married his wife Ivie in 1992, when he was a state senator. He filed for divorce in 2009. Ivie initially found out about the divorce "only through the media." 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.

The Clays have two children.

 

 

Source: wikipedia

 

December 7th, 2011

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