Open main menu

William Lacy Clay Jr. (born July 27, 1956) is an American politician who is the U.S. Representative from Missouri's 1st congressional district, serving since 2001. He is a member of the Democratic Party.

Lacy Clay
Lacy Clay official photo.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 1st district
Assumed office
January 3, 2001
Preceded byBill Clay
Member of the Missouri Senate
from the 4th district
In office
September 1991 – January 2001
Preceded byJohn Bass
Succeeded byPat Dougherty
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
from the 59th district
In office
November 1983 – September 1991
Preceded byNat Rivers
Succeeded byFrank Williamson
Personal details
William Lacy Clay Jr.

(1956-07-27) July 27, 1956 (age 63)
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Ivie Lewellen
(m. 1992; div. 2011)
RelativesBill Clay (Father)
EducationUniversity of Maryland, College Park (BA)

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

Early life and educationEdit

Lacy Clay Jr. was born in St. Louis, Missouri.[1] His family moved to Washington, D.C. when his father, Bill Clay, was elected to the U.S. Congress. His mother was Carol Ann (Johnson).[2]

In his teenage years, Clay attended public schools in Silver Spring, Maryland and graduated from Springbrook High School in 1974. He subsequently attended the University of Maryland–College Park, earning a degree in political science and a paralegal certificate. Clay is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He attended Howard University School of Law, worked as an Assistant Doorkeeper of the United States House of Representatives, and worked on his father's Congressional campaigns.[3]

Missouri legislatureEdit

Clay entered the Missouri House of Representatives in 1983, winning a special election to complete the term of Nathaniel J. "Nat" Rivers.[4] In 1991, he was elected to the Missouri Senate.

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

Clay during the 111th Congress

In 2000, Clay Sr. announced his retirement after 32 years in the U.S. Congress on the day filing for re-election closed. As a result, no serious candidates filed for office and Clay Jr. won the 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.[5] Clay beat Carnahan in the August 7, 2012 primary, 63% to 34%--all but handing him a seventh term.[6][7]

Committee assignmentsEdit

Caucus membershipsEdit

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.[12] 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.'"[13] 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."[12] 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.[12]

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 $32,000 for campaign management and legal fees. During the 2004 election, Clay's campaign reimbursed his father more than $6,000 for book purchases.[14]

Capitol paintingEdit

In January 2017, Clay became involved in an argument with Republican lawmakers over the right to have a painting continue to hang in the Capitol. The painting in question shows police officers apprehending suspects, and the police are depicted as pigs. The painting is displayed near the police security checkpoint. Rep Duncan D. Hunter took down the painting only to have Clay re-hang it. Several Republicans, including Doug Lamborn, Dana Rohrabacher and Brian Babin took down the painting, only to have Clay re-hang it each time. Clay then attempted to file a complaint with the Capitol Police accusing Hunter of theft.[15] After the architect of the U.S. Capitol ruled that the painting violated the rules for the competition and ordered its permanent removal, Clay sued to overturn the decision, but his suit was dismissed by a federal judge.[16]

Political positionsEdit

During Clay's previous seventeen 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.[17]

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.[18]

Clay voted against the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008.[19]

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 2007–2008.[20]

Electoral historyEdit

Missouri's 1st congressional district: Results 2000–2018[21][22]
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%
2012 William Lacy Clay 267,967 78.67% Robyn Hamlin 60,832 17.86% Robb E. Cunningham Libertarian 11,824 3.47%
2014 William Lacy Clay 119,315 72.98% Daniel J. Elder 35,273 21.57% Robb E. Cunningham Libertarian 8,906 5.45%
2016 William Lacy Clay 236,993 75.47% Steven G. Bailey 62,714 19.97% Robb E. Cunningham Libertarian 14,317 4.56%
2018 William Lacy Clay 219,781 80.01% Robert Vroman 45,867 16.07% Robb E. Cunningham Libertarian 8,727 3.02%

Personal lifeEdit

Clay and his wife Patricia reside in University City, a historic community in Saint Louis County, Missouri. He is the father of two children: Carol and Will. Besides his official duties, Congressman Clay is a supporter of the William L. Clay Scholarship & Research Fund which has helped send over 300 deserving young people to college.[citation needed] Mr. Clay is also a strong advocate for many nonprofit organizations that build up the St. Louis region.[citation needed] He is an avid reader, a student of history, a sportsman, and a lover of music.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Rebecca McDowell Cook. Official Manual: State of Missouri 1997-1998. p. 112.
  2. ^ "Lacy Clay ancestry". Retrieved 2015-05-15.
  3. ^ Sutin, Phil (November 3, 1983). "Clay's Son Runs for Legislature". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis, MO. p. 3N – via
  4. ^ Steichen, Girard C. (November 9, 1983). "W. L. Clay Jr. Wins Contest for House". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis, MO. p. 4A – via
  5. ^ "UPDATE: House Redistricting Committee Unveils Map". Archived from the original on 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2011-03-31.
  6. ^ "William Lacy Clay wins easily over Russ Carnahan". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. August 8, 2012.
  7. ^ "Missouri – Summary Vote Results". August 8, 2012.
  8. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  10. ^ "Our Members". U.S. House of Representatives International Conservation Caucus. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  12. ^ a b c "Black Caucus: Whites Not Allowed". The Politico. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  13. ^ DiLorenzo, Thomas (2011-02-11) My Associations with Liars, Bigots, and Murderers,
  14. ^ "Family Affair" (PDF). Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-03-25. Retrieved 2007-06-28.
  15. ^ Marcos, Cristina (January 13, 2017). "Democrat re-hangs painting depicting cops as pigs". The Hill. Retrieved January 13, 2017. The painting has inflamed tensions on Capitol Hill between the two parties. The Hill asked Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, if the painting would need someone to monitor it around the clock to prevent further removals. "No," Richmond replied. "We might just have to kick somebody's ass and stop them, though."
  16. ^ Gangitano, Alex (April 26, 2017). "Clay Brings Controversial Costituent Painting to House Floor". Roll Call. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  17. ^ Carey, Charles (2014). African-American Political Leaders. Infobase Publishing. p. 52. ISBN 9781438107806.
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ See his opening statement in the video: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-05.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  21. ^ "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved 2016-12-31.
  22. ^ IT, Missouri Secretary of State -. "State of Missouri - Election Night Results". Retrieved 2018-08-23.

External linksEdit