William Lacy Clay Jr.

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

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

Personal Life of William Lacy Clay Jr.

Lacy Clay was born in St. Louis, Missouri.  His family moved to Washington, D.C., when Bill Clay’s father was elected to U.S. Congress.  He attended public schools in Silver Spring, Maryland, for high school and graduated in the Springbrook High School Class of 1974.  He was a student at the University of Maryland-College Park, earning a degree in political science.  Clay is a member of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity.

Clay married his wife Ivie in 1992 when he was a state senator.  He filed for divorce in 2009.  The divorce was finalized in 2011, with Ivie Clay receiving sole physical custody of the couple’s two children.

Political Life of William Lacy Clay Jr.

Clay entered the Missouri House of Representatives in 1983, the same year that he graduated.  In 1991, he was elected to the Missouri Senate.

In 2000, Lacy Clay’s father announced his retirement after 32 years in the U.S. Congress on the same day filing for re-election closed.  As a result, no serious candidates filed for office, and Lacy won the Democratic primary with 60 percent of the vote and easily won the election in November.  He has been re-elected six times with no serious opposition, never dropping below 70 percent of the vote.


No stranger to controversy, 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 mainly African American district in Memphis.  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, Cohen stated, “It’s their caucus, and they do things their way. So 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.”

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 during the 2006 election, 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. In addition, during the 2004 election, Clay’s campaign reimbursed his father more than $6,000 for book purchases.

In January 2017, Clay became involved in a national controversy 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. First, Duncan D. Hunter took down the painting only to have Clay re-hang it. Next, several Republicans took down the painting, only to have Clay re-hang it each time.  Clay then attempted to file a complaint with the Capitol Police.  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 a federal judge dismissed his suit.


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