Backbone for Monday, March 21, 2016
By Congressman Lacy Clay (D) Missouri
“Progressive politics, positive leadership
for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District“
Welcome to this special edition of “Backbone.”
Backbone question of the week:
Which 2016 presidential candidate has earned the diverse and enthusiastic support of former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke; noted civil liberties suppression specialist Sherriff Joe Arpaio; rocker and top NRA apologist Ted Nugent and former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin?
Answer…Republican presidential front-runner…Donald Trump.
That’s right America, fear not, the party of Lincoln is getting ready to nominate a combed-over former reality show host, who, when asked about which key foreign policy advisors he is consulting with, responded, “I’m speaking to myself, number one, because I have a very good brain.” (MSNBC Morning Joe 3.16.16)
Of course that “very good brain” had a hard time deciding whether or not to renounce the support of the former leader of America’s most deadly domestic terrorist organization…the KKK.
I’m sure that Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong-Un and the Ayatollah Khamenei can’t wait to match up with that kind of brain power.
BUT DON’T TAKE MY WORD FOR IT…much better that you read this scathing opinion piece from award winning New York Times conservative columnist David Brooks, (3.18.16) in which he writes in-part:
“Donald Trump is epically unprepared to be president. He has no realistic policies, no advisers, no capacity to learn. His vast narcissism makes him a closed fortress. He doesn’t know what he doesn’t know and he’s uninterested in finding out.
He insults the office Abraham Lincoln once occupied by running for it with less preparation than most of us would undertake to buy a sofa.
Trump is perhaps the most dishonest person to run for high office in our lifetimes. All politicians stretch the truth, but Trump has a steady obliviousness to accuracy.
As the founders would have understood, he is a threat to the long and glorious experiment of American self-government. He is precisely the kind of scapegoating, promise-making, fear-driving and deceiving demagogue they feared.”
To read more on the hateful, dangerous path that the likely Republican nominee for President has chosen, please go to:http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/18/opinion/no-not-trump-not-ever.html?_r=2
HILLARY GOES FIVE FOR FIVE, WINS MISSOURI AND SWEEPS SUPER TUESDAY III
While Republicans are left to choose between a candidate whom they not only despise, but who is also guaranteed to help turn out millions of extra Democratic voters in November (The Donald); and a candidate who likes to shut down the federal government and is truly hated by his own colleagues in the U.S. Senate (Ted Cruz); my candidate for president, Hillary Clinton…went five for five last Tuesday!
That Musial-like performance included wins in Missouri, Illinois, North Carolina, Florida and Ohio.
And right here in the Show-Me state, Black voters, with strong encouragement from Congressman Cleaver and myself, backed Hillary Clinton by an overwhelming majority, propelling her to a thrilling victory.
America is Ready for Hillary and I was proud to help deliver Big MO for her. For full coverage of her victory in the Missouri presidential primary, please check out this story by Daniel Strauss inPOLITICO: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/politico-breaking-news-hillary-clinton-wins-missouri-primary-220949
READY FOR MY RE-ELECTION ON TUESDAY, AUGUST 2ND
As I begin my drive to victory in the Democratic primary on Tuesday August 2nd, I’m blessed to start with a massive fundraising advantage and the united support of the Democratic Party, key elected leaders and organized labor.
I’m also proud to lead an undefeated political organization that has won more elections and produced more Democratic votes in Missouri than any other in the state’s history.
But as Harry Truman used to say, “Politicians need to remember that we’re just the hired help.”
This congressional seat doesn’t belong to anyone…it belongs to the people.
Every two years, the voters of the 1st congressional district hold a job interview for who they want to represent them in Congress.
They consider the character and conduct of the candidates, their record of providing real results for the community, and their abilities to advance the core issues and deeply held values that matter to them…like growing and protecting good jobs, improving public education, expanding access to affordable healthcare, stabilizing housing, protecting their right to vote…and transforming local law enforcement and our criminal justice system to finally achieve equal justice for all, instead of just for some.
My team has never been stronger or better prepared, and we are going to win decisively on August 2nd. To find out how you can help, please go to www.lacyclay.org
To check out my video from filing day and other great stories, please go to:
NIXON VETOES ‘PAYCHECK DECEPTION ACT,’ SETS UP OVERRIDE ATTEMPT BEFORE LEGISLATIVE SESSION ENDS
Unlike one of my opponents, who was the only Democrat in the Missouri State Senate to side with Republican efforts to strip public employees of their right to organize and collective bargaining…I strongly oppose the GOP Paycheck Deception Act, which Governor Jay Nixon just vetoed.
As reported by Jack Suntrup of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Jefferson City bureau (3.18.16):
Nixon, a Democrat, said in a statement that the measure would create challenges for public employees trying to organize and bargain collectively.
“Making it harder for teachers and mental health workers to exercise their constitutional right to organize is wrong and a waste of taxpayer dollars,” he said. “Lawmakers should be supporting workers instead of attacking their constitutional right to organize for fair wages and safe workplaces.
Choices have consequences. Working families will remember her indefensible assault against their economic security on Tuesday, August 2nd.
To read more about this terrible legislation that one of my opponents helped Republicans pass, please go to: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/nixon-vetoes-paycheck-protection-sets-up-override-attempt-before-legislative/article_f14be759-997b-51f1-bbee-e8d60d9c76e7.html
ST. LOUIS MAKES ‘MILLENNIAL’ CASE WITH OFFER OF FREE LAND TO SPY AGENCY
As reported by Nick Pistor in the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (3.7.16), I joined with Governor Jay Nixon, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, Comptroller Darlene Green and other regional leaders to make our final push to win the $1.6 billion competition to build the new western headquarters of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.
The City of St. Louis is now offering the 100-acre Northside site at no cost to the federal government. The St. Louis site is the best choice for NGA’s vital mission and for the talented people who work there.
The story notes in-part:
U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay said the city location is its best asset.
“The best and the brightest want to live near other centers of talent and creative energy like Cortex, Washington Avenue and our great research universities,” Clay said.
“Because people who are working on the hardest problems of today and the biggest challenges that America will face in the future want to hang out together.”
Winning the NGA competition is an unprecedented opportunity to revive North St. Louis and to replace the tragic federal failure of Pruitt-Igoe with a vibrant, transformational federal success.
One of the things that I am so proud of is the remarkable bipartisan support that we have built at all levels of government and across this community to back this huge effort.
But sadly, once again, one of my opponents was the only member of the Missouri State Senate, from either party, to vote against a resolution supporting our efforts to win the NGA competition.
She voted against bringing a $1.6 billion federal investment to North St. Louis.
She voted against bringing 3100 federal jobs to Northside, along with hundreds of construction jobs to build this massive project.
She voted against the most aggressive minority participation plan in St. Louis project labor agreement history…with a goal of 40% of all man-hours and contracts going to minority-owned firms.
Choices have consequences, and regardless of what happens in the final competition, her vote against NGA in North St. Louis is indefensible.
To read more about our final push to win the NGA competition for the City of St. Louis, please go to:
U.S. SENATE SHOULD OBEY THE CONSTITUTION
President Obama’s nomination of Chief Judge Merrick Garland to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court is an exceptional choice. In fact, Judge Garland has already been confirmed multiple times by the U.S. Senate.
A newly released poll by NBC News and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, (3.18.16) reports that 61% of the American people want the Senate to conduct fair hearings and then schedule an up or down vote on this highly-qualified nominee.
But Senate Republicans refuse to do their duty.
As noted in this guest column that I coauthored with my good friend Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, which appeared in the ST. LOUIS AMERICAN (2.25.16):
“Over the last few days, we have witnessed a remarkable display of contempt for the U.S. Constitution by some of the loudest Republican voices who normally claim to be the high and mighty protectors of its original intent.
Nowhere within the foundation document of our great democracy is there any mention of delaying such judicial nominations during election years or even during the final year of a particular administration.
According to the National Archives, the previous 43 presidents have submitted a total of 24 Supreme Court nominees within the final 10 months of their respective terms in office.
In fact, 18 percent of all Supreme Court nominees were submitted later in a president’s term than President Obama’s current tenure. That includes the remarkable Justice John Marshall, our nation’s longest-serving chief justice, who was nominated by President John Adams in 1801 after his defeat by Thomas Jefferson, just 43 days before the end of his term.
Yet, as has too often been the case over the last seven years, when it comes to this particular president, the Senate majority leader and many of his colleagues in their “auto-obstruction’ caucus are happy to apply a different standard to him.
As President Obama said in his press conference in California on February 16th: “We’ve almost gotten accustomed to how obstructionist the Senate has become when it comes to nominations. The fact that it’s that hard, that we’re even discussing this, is a measure of how the venom and rancor in Washington have prevented us from getting things done. This would be a good moment to rise above that.”
We strongly agree, and we urge Senate Republicans to take a step back from the abyss of obstruction and consider your own legacy as lawmakers.
The Constitution simply does not provide you with an option to call a judicial time-out because the composition of your own team scares you. If the Senate fails to do its duty, the voters will remember that in November, and history will record that the Republican majority lacked the courage to do your sworn duty. We urge Missouri’s U.S. Senators to do what the Constitution requires.
To read our full guest column, please go to:
FLINT WATER CRISIS…THIS SHOULDN’T HAPPEN IN AMERICA: SNYDER BLAMES BUREAUCRATS, EPA FAULTS STATE IN FLINT CRISIS
As you may have seen last week in a televised hearing before the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee, I had the opportunity to question Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy on the gross negligence that allowed 100,000 residents of Flint, Michigan to be exposed to lead and dangerous bacteria in their public water supply. Among those exposed were at least 8,000 children.
What I heard was bureaucrats blaming each other for not acting in time to protect citizens who trusted them.
I also heard Republican members of the committee attempting to shield Governor Snyder and his administration by focusing their political fire and blame on the Environmental Protection Agency, instead of the local and state officials who were actually in charge of ensuring safe, clean water.
As this story by Matthew Daly of the ASSOCIATED PRESS which also appeared in the WASHINGTON POST (3.17.18) noted:
State officials did not require that the river water be treated for corrosion, and lead from aging pipes and fixtures leached into Flint homes and businesses. About 8,000 children under the age of 6 were potentially exposed to lead, and elevated lead levels have been found in at least 221 children and 104 adults in Flint. Lead contamination has been linked to learning disabilities and other problems.
Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., scoffed at the outrage from Chaffetz and other Republicans, noting that the EPA under President Barack Obama is a favorite target of GOP politicians who routinely accuse the agency of overreach.
In Flint, Republicans “now say the Obama EPA should have stepped in and overruled the Republican governor of a state,” Clay said, his voice rising. “The irony is almost overwhelming.”
To read more on this story, please go to:
FERGUSON REVERSES COURSE, APPROVES DOJ CONSENT DECREE TO OVERHAUL POLICE DEPARTMENT AND MUNICIPAL COURT
Last Tuesday, the Ferguson City Council finally came to its senses and gave unanimous approval to the consent decree negotiated with the U.S. Department of Justice. I urge them to swiftly implement the settlement without delay.
This agreement is the product of a process that I initiated with former Attorney General Eric Holder just two days after Mike Brown’s tragic death on August 9, 2014.
The Justice Department patterns and practices investigation into the operations of the Ferguson Police Department and their municipal court, which I first requested, revealed 26 different constitutional violations.
Ferguson was operating a racially biased, municipal ATM machine on the backs of Black residents and other low-income people. That ends now.
Obeying the constitution is not optional…it’s the law.
Ferguson now has an opportunity to turn all the tragedy, tumult and heartache of the last 19 months into something powerful and positive…a new standard of community-based policing that is accountable, transparent, diverse, and truly a model for what local law enforcement should look like.
Hopefully, other departments in St. Louis County will follow their good example.
The cost of this agreement may be high, but it’s nothing when compared to the price of allowing injustice to remain unchallenged and unchanged.
NEW BETTY JEAN KERR PEOPLE’S HEALTH CENTERS CHILDREN’S AND ADOLESCENT BEHAVIORAL HEALTH FACILITY WILL GIVE YOUNG PEOPLE THE HELP THEY NEED BEFORE ITS TOO LATE
Undiagnosed and untreated mental illnesses, like depression, post traumatic stress and anxiety disorders are widespread in urban communities.
We don’t like to talk about that, we don’t like to seek treatment, and that’s a huge mistake; especially when it comes to young people who are at risk of making tragic life choices if we don’t intervene to help them deal with behavioral issues in a more positive way.
That’s why I was so pleased to help bring $3 million in federal community block grant funding to make the new Betty Jean Kerr People’s Health Centers Children’s and Adolescent Behavioral Health Facility a reality.
And I was absolutely shocked when the BJKPHC Board of Directors decided to name the new building in my honor. That wonderful surprise is something that I am very humbled by, and I will never forget it.
My reelection campaign is off to a great start. We’re putting all the pieces in place for another decisive victory in the 1st Congressional District on Tuesday, August 2nd.
I’m counting on you to stand with me with your vote, and with your financial support too.
Your donation not only supports my re-election, it also allows me to help other progressive Democratic voices across this country.
If you’ve already stepped up, thank you.
If you haven’t helped out yet, your donation to my campaign would be greatly appreciated at this secure link. Thanks again for all your friendship and support.
And don’t miss my special leadership breakfast on Monday, April 4th…for more information, or to RSVP for that exceptional event, please contact Michelle Clay at (314) 616-6123. Or you may email her at Clay4Congress2016@gmail.com
Hope you enjoyed this edition of Backbone.
Please remember to follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/lacy.clay.3
And on Twitter @LacyClayMO1
See you next time.