Missouri’s senior Democrat in Congress is seeking his 11th term on Capitol Hill. U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, traveled to Jefferson City earlier this week to file for re-election.

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, traveled to Jefferson City on February 25, 2020 to file for re-election for his 11th term (photo from Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth)

Clay, who’s a dean in Missouri’s congressional delegation, chairs the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance. He’s also a senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee.

Congressman Clay’s top priority in 2020 is combating gun violence in urban and suburban areas. He’s watching presidential candidates and others closely.

“What kind of firearm policies do you believe in, which firearm policies will you be promoting,” Clay says.

Clay represents St. Louis City and parts of St. Louis County in Congress. There were 194 homicides in St. Louis in 2019, including the shooting deaths of at least 13 children.

A recent study published by “USA Today” listed St. Louis as the 5th most dangerous city in America.

While Congressman Clay continues to support criminal justice reform, he’s also focused on crime victims and witnesses. He tells Missourinet he’s working with St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell to help them enhance a witness protection program.

“If it means that they need a budget item, a line-item, to actually protect these witnesses more, to maybe move them out of town, before a trial,” says Clay.

There have been teen witnesses to St. Louis homicides in recent years who have been killed, before they could testify.

That includes the highly-publicized “St. Louis murder mom” conspiracy case. The “St. Louis Post-Dispatch” reported this month that 23-year-old Tyrell Davidson was sentenced to 12 years in prison for second degree murder, for that case.

In exchange for that guilty plea, prosecutors dismissed first degree murder and witness tampering charges against Davidson.

Congressman Clay is calling for tougher criminal penalties for witness intimidation.

“And that would better protect these witnesses, will probably get them to come forward and to testify and to get these bad guys off the street,” Clay says.

This past weekend in Clay’s district, kindergartner David Birchfield III was shot to death when a gunman shot into his car. David, who was six, was killed. His nine-year-old sister was also shot.

Clay is also focused on economic development and jobs, including the NGA project, which he notes is the largest single federal government investment in St. Louis history.

“Welcome to a historic day at the corner of Jefferson and Cass,” Clay said at the November groundbreaking ceremony. It’s a $1.7 billion project.

Clay was first elected to Congress in 2000. He won re-election in 2018, beating Republican Robert Vroman with about 80 percent of the vote.

Northwoods Democrat Cori Bush has filed to challenge Clay in the Democratic primary. No Republicans have filed yet.

The last day to file is March 31.

Click here to listen to the full four-minute interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, which was recorded on February 25, 2020 at the Kirkpatrick Building in Jefferson City:

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