Backbone for Monday, August 14, 2017

Backbone for Monday, 

August 14, 2017

By Congressman Lacy Clay (D) Missouri     

“Progressive politics, positive leadership 

for Missouri’s 1st Congressional District 

Welcome to another special edition of “Backbone.” 


IN MEMORY OF MIKE BROWN, 3-YEARS AFTER FERGUSON, Lessons from Ferguson Should Not Be Lost to Revisionist History

In this guest op-ed that I authored for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (8.9.17) on the 3rd anniversary of Mike Brown’s death, I wanted to remind readers of the uncomfortable and ugly truths that were revealed in Ferguson and why we should never allow dishonest attempts to “sugarcoat” the reality of the tragic events there to go unchallenged.

As my op-ed stated in part:

“In death, Mike Brown illuminated a terrible disparity that was true in Ferguson and across our nation as well. In city after city, young, unarmed African-Americans interact with local police, the situation escalates, and they wind up dead … with no consequences. Their lives are snuffed out with no hope of justice for their families.

So when you hear our young people asserting that Black Lives Matter, they are not saying that to diminish the worth of others. They are simply calling out a hard, hateful truth that we can no longer deny: In the United States, in 2017, some lives are still worth more than others. They are justifiably outraged by that, and so am I.

While the vast majority of police officers perform their difficult and dangerous job with bravery and integrity, there are still far too many officers who swear an oath, wear a badge, carry a gun, and yet repeatedly violate the constitutional rights of the very citizens whom they are sworn to serve and protect. And the harsh and clearly documented reality is that most of that misconduct is inflicted on communities of color.

The Justice Department investigation in Ferguson that I requested revealed 26 different constitutional violations perpetrated by the Ferguson Police Department, the Ferguson Municipal Court and the city of Ferguson.

While the federal consent decree is addressing most of those abuses, lately, there has been a clear and very disturbing trend by some of the principals involved in this tragedy to attempt to rewrite history.

For the record, the U.S. Department of Justice found that in Ferguson, traffic stops, arrests, searches, fines and incarcerations were tainted by a pervasive and disturbing racial bias against African-Americans.

I pray that as a nation and as a community, we will remember Mike Brown; we will remember the still unfolding awakening that his death provided us; and we will not allow history to be rewritten for the comfort of others.”

To read my full op-ed, please go to:



$3 Million Federal Investment to Provide Comprehensive Behavioral Care for At-Risk Kids and Their Families

In my over 30-years of public service, I’m most proud of the good I’ve done for children and seniors.  And I was honored to help provide a $3 million federal investment to make the remarkable new Lacy Clay Center for Children’s Health a reality.

Many of the children who will receive compassionate and exceptional treatment at this new facility have experienced either physical or emotional trauma at an early age.

If we can reach them and help them heal, we will not only help them reclaim their future; we will also prevent negative outcomes for our community.

I was truly blessed to dedicate this amazing new healthcare center with my family in attendance.

To check out coverage from KTVI-FOX 2 St. Louis, please go to:

And to view the full video of my remarks at the dedication, please go to:



As reported in this coverage by Ashley Lisenby in the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (7.28.17) I was humbled and honored to receive the President’s Award from my good friend Marc Morial at the National Urban League Conference in St. Louis.

Her story notes in part:

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, told a gathering of activists Friday that they were “in the fight of our lives, not just to save our cities but to save our young people.”

Clay was the keynote speaker at the national conference of the Urban League being held at America’s Center downtown.

In a fiery speech, he emphasized the importance of gathering in St. Louis at a time when he believes there is “an unprecedented threat” against equal employment, health care and fair policing.

“We are fighting to defeat the duplicitous and savage assault on voting rights which is being led directly from the White House,” Clay said. “And most importantly, we are fighting to never allow the forces of hate, intolerance, violence and bigotry to prevail.”

St. Louis is the perfect place for this year’s conference because you are literally standing on the front lines of that struggle,” he said.

Clay cited Whitney M. Young, a civil rights activist and former chief director of the Urban League, in his acceptance speech, saying: “Every man is our brother and every man’s burden is our own. Where poverty exists, all are poorer. Where hate flourishes, all are corrupted. Where injustice reins, all are unequal.”

To read the full story, please go to:



With the current Republican Majority in the U.S. House it’s not easy for a Democrat to get a hearing on his legislation, let alone bring a bill to the floor for a vote.  But as this piece in the St. Louis American (7.27.17) reported, my bill, H.R. 1927, the African American Civil Rights Network Act gained final approval in the House and now moves on to the Senate.

The story notes in-part:

On Wednesday, July 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new bill to support the preservation of historical sites from the Civil Rights Movement.

H.R. 1927, the African American Civil Rights Network Act of 2017, was authored by U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Missouri). The bipartisan act – which was approved with 72 cosponsors from across the nation, including U.S. Rep. Jason Smith (R-Missouri) – is designed to help preserve, illuminate and tell the still largely untold story of the 20th century struggle for civil rights.

The legislation requires the Department of the Interior to establish a network of all current National Parks Services sites that relate to the Civil Rights Movement, along with other federal, state, local and privately owned properties that are significant to the movement.

“The historic network that H.R. 1927 would create would offer tremendous educational opportunities, by recognizing those brave souls from all walks of life who fought to make the promises enshrined in our constitution finally ring true for every American, regardless of the color of their skin,” Clay said in remarks on the House floor Wednesday.

To read the full story, please go to:



Stopping the exploitation of women and young people who are victimized by the evil perpetrators of sex trafficking is a bipartisan priority that should unite everyone.

As this story by Chuck Raasch of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH (7.13.17) reports, I was pleased to reach across the aisle and team up with my Missouri colleague Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler (R) Missouri to cosponsor and pass legislation to provide local police departments with more federal resources to fight this growing problem that is particularly prevalent in the St. Louis region.

The report notes in part:

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, a co-sponsor, said human trafficking “is a form of 21st Century slavery” and that St. Louis is “one of the top 20 markets for these horrific and inhuman crimes” because of the city’s location at the intersection of major transportation routes 

The bill Hartzler and Clay pushed through the House would allow local police departments to compete for federal grants to educate and to prosecute customers of illicit sex.

Clay said one of the big problems in fighting the problem is that young victims of the sex trade are often told by traffickers that they have nowhere to go for help because they are breaking the law. “Victims might be fearful of going to law enforcement and being charged with a crime,” Clay said.

Our legislation now moves on to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

For more on this story, please go to:

MY PARTY IS IN DENIAL ABOUT DONALD TRUMP, by U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R) Arizona

Regular Backbone readers know that I’m not in the habit of quoting Republicans, but I had to share this remarkable article written by Senator Jeff Flake (R) of Arizona which appeared in POLITICO (7.31.17) in which he confessed what many conservatives are saying about a troubled and teetering president who seems lost and unhinged when faced with the urgent dangers that America now faces and the gravity of his office.

The Senator’s shockingly honest article said in part:

“Who could blame the people who felt abandoned and ignored by the major parties for reaching in despair for a candidate who offered oversimplified answers to infinitely complex questions and managed to entertain them in the process? With hindsight, it is clear that we all but ensured the rise of Donald Trump.

I’ve been sympathetic to this impulse to denial, as one doesn’t ever want to believe that the government of the United States has been made dysfunctional at the highest levels, especially by the actions of one’s own party.

Michael Gerson, a conservative columnist and former senior adviser to President George W. Bush, wrote, four months into the new presidency, “The conservative mind, in some very visible cases, has become diseased,” and conservative institutions “with the blessings of a president … have abandoned the normal constraints of reason and compassion.”

Meanwhile, the strange specter of an American president’s seeming affection for strongmen and authoritarians created such a cognitive dissonance among my generation of conservatives—who had come of age under existential threat from the Soviet Union—that it was almost impossible to believe.

Even as our own government was documenting a concerted attack against our democratic processes by an enemy foreign power, our own White House was rejecting the authority of its own intelligence agencies, disclaiming their findings as a Democratic ruse and a hoax.”

To read the full text of this remarkable article, please go to:



There is really only one way to stop Donald Trump and his hateful supporters.

We need to out-fundraise them, out-organize them, and then defeat them on Election Day.

The President and his alt-right extremists are waging an all-out assault on healthcare, the 1st Amendment, science and voting rights.

I’m asking you to take action today to help me stop them.

Please step up with your donation to help me defend our values, our essential freedoms and the future of this country against those who are trying to take us back in time.

Your donation would be greatly appreciated at this secure link.  And remember, your generous support not only helps my re-election, it allows me to help other progressive Democrats around the country too.

Thanks again for all your friendship and support.


Please remember to follow me on Facebook at 

And on Twitter @LacyClayMO1











Paid for by Clay Jr. for Congress, Willis Lloyd, Treasurer