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Democrat

Rep. William Lacy Clay (D)

William Lacy Clay Contact
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Email: n/a
DC Contact Information

Phone: 202-225-2406

Address: 2418 RHOB, DC 20515

Websites: clay.house.gov
State Office Contact Information

Phone: (314) 367-1970

Address: 111 S. 10th Street, St. Louis MO 63102-1125

St. Louis MO

Phone: (314) 669-9393

Fax: (314) 669-9898

Address: 6830 Gravois Avenue, St. Louis MO 63116-1137

Florissant MO

Phone: (314) 383-5240

Fax: (314) 383-8020

Address: 1281 Graham Road, Florissant MO 63031-8029

William Lacy Clay Staff
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Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
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Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
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Legislative Director
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Legislative Assistant
Pecantte, Richard
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Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
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Legislative Assistant
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Legislative Director
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Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
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Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Aboussie, Louis
Staff Assistant
Ahmad, Ishmael-Lateef
Caseworker; Press Assistant
Engelhardt, Steven
Communications Director
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Long, Karyn
Scheduler; Executive Assistant
Massey, Edwilla
Director of Constituent Services
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Williams, Brian
Community Outreach
Ahmad, Ishmael-Lateef
Caseworker; Press Assistant
Engelhardt, Steven
Communications Director
Massey, Edwilla
Director of Constituent Services
Long, Karyn
Scheduler; Executive Assistant
Pecantte, Richard
Legislative Assistant
Jamry, Pauline
Legislative Director
Williams, Brian
Community Outreach
Ahmad, Ishmael-Lateef
Caseworker; Press Assistant
Long, Karyn
Scheduler; Executive Assistant
Aboussie, Louis
Staff Assistant
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William Lacy Clay Committees
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William Lacy Clay Biography
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  • Elected: 2000, 7th term.
  • District: Missouri 1
  • Born: Jul. 27, 1956, St. Louis
  • Home: St. Louis
  • Education:

    U. of MD, B.S. 1983

  • Professional Career:

    Asst. doorkeeper, U.S. House of Reps, 1976-83; Paralegal, 1982-2000; Real estate agent, 1986-2000.

  • Political Career:

    MO House of Reps., 1983-90; MO Senate, 1991-2000.

  • Ethnicity: Black/African American
  • Religion:

    Catholic

  • Family: Divorced; 2 children

Democrat William Lacy Clay was first elected in 2000 to the seat that his father, Bill Clay, held for 32 years. In the 2012 election, he trounced fellow Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan after redistricting threw them together in a contentious primary. Read More

Democrat William Lacy Clay was first elected in 2000 to the seat that his father, Bill Clay, held for 32 years. In the 2012 election, he trounced fellow Democratic Rep. Russ Carnahan after redistricting threw them together in a contentious primary.

Born in St. Louis, Clay, who goes by “Lacy,” moved to the Washington, D.C., area at age 12 after his father’s election to the House in 1968. He attended public schools in suburban Silver Spring, Md., and then the University of Maryland, studying by night for seven years while he worked as a House staffer by day. He had started law classes at Howard University in 1983, when a special election for the state House drew him back to St. Louis. Party leaders appointed him the Democratic nominee. Eight years later, he was again chosen by party leaders to run in a special election for a safely Democratic state Senate seat.

Then in 1999, his father decided to retire from Congress, after helping to enact many labor and education laws he had fought for. Clay wanted to take his father’s place, but he had a serious primary contest. St. Louis Councilman Charlie Dooley raised nearly $400,000 and was an African-American with a base of support in the mostly white suburbs of St. Louis County. Dooley said that the office should not be “inherited,” and he attacked what he called Clay’s old-style tactics of political threats and bossism. The St. Louis Labor Council and Missouri AFL-CIO, long allied with Bill Clay, declined to endorse his son, but more than 30 locals endorsed him. The candidate played up his father’s name and revved up the still reliable machine. He won the primary 61%-28% over Dooley, winning St. Louis City 76%-12% and the county, where twice as many votes were cast, 49%-39%. In the general election, Clay won 75%-22%, and since then has won reelection by comparable margins.

In the House, Clay has a mostly liberal voting record; he was among those tied for most-liberal House member in 2011 in National Journal’s annual vote ratings, though by 2013 he had dropped to 95th most-liberal. He is a member of the House Democrats’ whip organization and is active in the Congressional Black Caucus.

He can openly show his partisanship, as he did in 2012 when he denounced a House Republican vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress as a “disgraceful political witch hunt.” But Clay is usually low-key and can be diplomatic in resolving differences among other lawmakers. “He’s a peacemaker,” fellow Missouri Democratic Rep. Emanuel Cleaver told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “He has just the right personality to take the temperature up, or bring it down.” Clay also can be a deal-maker. He agreed to support Nancy Pelosi over Steny Hoyer for Democratic leader in 2001 only after securing a promise of $5 million to clean up contaminants at an Army plant in his district.

Clay has worked to protect voting rights for blacks and is the main proponent of creating a national Civil Rights Trail, with markers linking important sites in the civil-rights movement, including those in St. Louis. He succeeded in pushing the Census Bureau in 2010 to stop automatically counting prison inmates—many of them urban African-Americans and Latinos—as residents of the rural, mainly white communities that host prisons. He has been a leading advocate for the rent-to-own industry, a group accused on preying on minorities but that he said “provides a vital service to millions of Americans.”

On the Financial Services Committee, Clay in 2011 became ranking Democrat on the subcommittee dealing with domestic monetary policy and technology. He lamented in 2012 that frequent absences by Chairman Ron Paul, R-Texas, as he campaigned for the GOP nomination for president left the committee accomplishing little. He continued in the position as the subcommittee's focus was changed to monetary policy and trade, and was among the Democrats speaking in favor of reauthorizing the U.S. Export-Import Bank in the face of conservative criticism in 2014.

But nothing raised Clay's profile like the riots that followed the police shooting of an unarmed black youth in Ferguson, a city in his district, in August 2014. He criticized police for a "heavy-handed" approach to peaceful demonstrations and said that law enforcement organizations needed more diversity in their ranks. He also called on the federal government to take over the investigation into the shooting, saying in a radio interview: "I have absolutely no confidence in the Ferguson police, the county prosecutor. I know we won't get a fair shake there." He also defended Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, whom he knew from their days in the state Senate. He joined the governor at a news conference and later said on Twitter that Nixon was trying to protect civil rights and public safety.

Missouri lost a seat in the 2010 reapportionment, and Republicans in control of redistricting eliminated Carnahan’s 3rd District. Carnahan decided to challenge Clay in Clay’s district, a move that some close to his operation told the Cook Political Report was retribution for Clay’s tacit support of the GOP-engineered map. The newly drawn 1st District included 70% of Clay’s old district and just 30% of Carnahan’s.

Despite the candidates’ protestations that race wouldn’t be an issue, it arose in the campaign. Clay ran a radio ad featuring two prominent black churches urging listeners to stand behind “leaders like Lacy Clay and President Obama.” Clay also told the Post-Dispatch that with Carnahan as the nominee, there would be “drop off” in black turnout in the general election. The newspaper endorsed Carnahan, saying that Clay “has coasted on the organization that his father and predecessor built but without being as deeply and continuously involved in local issues as Bill Clay was.” But Clay won the primary overwhelmingly, 63%-34%, and was easily reelected in November.

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William Lacy Clay Election Results
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2012 General
William Lacy Clay (D)
Votes: 267,927
Percent: 78.67%
Robyn Hamlin
Votes: 60,832
Percent: 17.86%
Robb Cunningham
Votes: 11,824
Percent: 3.47%
2012 Primary
William Lacy Clay (D)
Votes: 57,791
Percent: 63.3%
Russ Carnahan (D)
Votes: 30,943
Percent: 33.89%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (74%), 2008 (87%), 2006 (73%), 2004 (75%), 2002 (70%), 2000 (75%)
William Lacy Clay Votes and Bills
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National Journal’s rating system is an objective method of analyzing voting. The liberal score means that the lawmaker’s votes were more liberal than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The conservative score means his votes were more conservative than that percentage of his colleagues’ votes. The composite score is an average of a lawmaker’s six issue-based scores. See all NJ Voting

More Liberal
More Conservative
2013 2012 2011
Economic 75 (L) : 24 (C) 89 (L) : - (C) 92 (L) : - (C)
Social 85 (L) : 13 (C) 85 (L) : - (C) 80 (L) : - (C)
Foreign 74 (L) : 26 (C) 93 (L) : - (C) 88 (L) : - (C)
Composite 78.5 (L) : 21.5 (C) 94.5 (L) : 5.5 (C) 93.3 (L) : 6.7 (C)
Interest Group Ratings

The vote ratings by 10 special interest groups provide insight into a lawmaker’s general ideology and the degree to which he or she agrees with the group’s point of view. Two organizations provide just one combined rating for 2011 and 2012, the two sessions of the 112th Congress. They are the ACLU and the ITIC. About the interest groups.

20112012
FRC100
LCV9786
CFG416
ITIC-50
NTU1515
20112012
COC25-
ACLU-100
ACU00
ADA9595
AFSCME100-
Key House Votes

The key votes show how a member of Congress voted on the major bills of the year. N indicates a "no" vote; Y a "yes" vote. If a member voted "present" or was absent, the bill caption is not shown. For a complete description of the bills included in key votes, see the Almanac's Guide to Usage.

    • Pass GOP budget
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • End fiscal cliff
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2012
    • Extend payroll tax cut
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Stop student loan hike
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Repeal health care
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2012
    • Raise debt limit
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Pass cut, cap, balance
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Defund Planned Parenthood
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Repeal lightbulb ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2011
    • Add endangered listings
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Speed troop withdrawal
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2011
    • Regulate financial firms
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Pass tax cuts for some
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Stop detainee transfers
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2010
    • Legalize immigrants' kids
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Repeal don't ask, tell
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Limit campaign funds
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2010
    • Overturn Ledbetter
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass $820 billion stimulus
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Let guns in national parks
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass cap-and-trade
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bar federal abortion funds
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2009
    • Pass health care bill
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2009
    • Bail out financial markets
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Repeal D.C. gun law
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Overhaul FISA
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2008
    • Increase minimum wage
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Expand SCHIP
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Raise CAFE standards
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Share immigration data
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Foreign aid abortion ban
    • Vote: N
    • Year: 2007
    • Ban gay bias in workplace
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Withdraw troops 8/08
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • No operations in Iran
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
    • Free trade with Peru
    • Vote: Y
    • Year: 2007
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The Almanac is a members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics. Comprehensive online profiles include biographical and political summaries of elected officials, campaign expenditures, voting records, interest-group ratings, and congressional staff look-ups. In-depth overviews of each state and house district are included as well, along with demographic data, analysis of voting trends, and political histories.
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