WASHINGTON • A battle has erupted over Nancy Pelosi's attempt to be Speaker of the U.S. House. Rep. William Lacy Clay, the only Democrat from the St. Louis region, has chosen sides.
He's supporting Pelosi, describing her in a letter to colleagues this week as a legislative-battle-tested leader who has made a commitment to expanding Democratic leadership in the House "for minorities, women, the disabled and LGBQT Americans who have been underrepresented as senior congressional and committee staffers."
Pelosi, 78, is facing serious challenges from newly elected members of the Democratic majority in the House, many of whom said they would not vote for her as leader. Some Democrats argue it's time for a change from Pelosi, who is a frequent Republican campaign and legislative target.
In an interview, the congressman, who will enter his 10th term in Congress in January, is an unabashed supporter. He pointed to Pelosi's record as the first woman Speaker of the House from 2007-2011, singling out the passage of the Affordable Care Act, the Lilly Ledbetter equal pay law, and a huge government spending package aimed at stimulating spending during the deep recession of 2008-2009.
"What she did in those four years as the first female speaker I think was amazing," Clay said. "She has shown us her legislative bona fides … got us over the finish line with the stimulus, with health care, with Lilly Ledbetter. So she has a list of accomplishments and it says to me she deserves our support. Plus she raised over $100 million" for Democratic congressional candidates.