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Missouri 99th General Assembly opens for 2017

Rep. Andrew McDaniel, from Pemiscot County, gets help from fellow Rep. Cloria Brown, south St. Louis County, pinning on a rose before opening ceremonies of the 99th General Assembly in Jefferson City on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017. Photo by David Carson, dcarson@post-dispatch.com

JEFFERSON CITY • Cloria Brown did not gloat when she unseated Democratic state Rep. Vicki Lorenz Englund eight years ago. Rep. Brown, after all, knew what it was like to lose.

Rep. Brown first ran for the south St. Louis County-based seat in 2008, losing to Englund. The two would face each other four more times, with Englund coming up short in every other race besides their 2012 match.

“I do remember the first time we saw each other after my first loss,” Englund said Monday, recalling back to 2010. “We both hugged each other and cried.”

Rep. Brown, who represented a swath of south St. Louis County on and off since 2010, died Sunday (March 18, 2018) from cancer. She was 75.

“Cloria was a very hard worker,” Englund said. “She knocked on doors like crazy.”

During her time in the Missouri House, Rep. Brown introduced measures to ban texting while driving; supported a statewide prescription drug monitoring program; and pushed to shed light on sex trafficking.

“Cloria leaves a lasting legacy,” Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, said in a statement. “She worked tirelessly to help women, children and the most vulnerable. Her efforts were the driving force behind the passage of House Bill 1246, which combats human trafficking. She will be missed.”

In 2015, Rep. Brown introduced a bill mandating that certain businesses display posters with the phone number to a national human trafficking hotline. It passed in the current session. Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, signed it into law this month.

Growing up on the south side of St. Louis, Mrs. Brown attended public schools, according to a biography on her campaign website. Her parents worked union factory jobs and their family lived in half of a two-family flat. Rep. Brown graduated from McKinley High School and attended St. Louis Community College. After marrying and having a daughter, she worked and went to night school at Washington University, according to a biography.

She then began working for Mastercard in its IT department. She retired as a vice president.

In 2016, she was one of a handful of Republicans who voiced skepticism about a measure that would have granted constitutional protections to shopkeepers and clergy who declined to participate in same-sex weddings.

Business groups largely opposed the bill, while some vocal religious groups backed its passage. Both sides intensely lobbied lawmakers. The measure ultimately died in a House committee.

“My constituents are 50/50, so if it’s a good bill I’ll vote for it, and if it’s a bad bill I won’t,” she said then. “And bullying doesn’t work with me, no matter who is doing the bullying.”

Her district, the 94th, which takes in neighborhoods surrounding the Interstate 55 and Interstate 270 interchange, is one of the few House districts in Missouri that is considered competitive each election cycle.

When asked about her positions during the 2016 election, Rep. Brown told the Post-Dispatch: “I don’t go too far to the right, and I don’t go too far to the left.”

She also supported an effort to ban lobbyists from giving gifts to lawmakers.

“The people in my district expect me to pay my own way,” she said.

Rep. Brown is survived by her husband, Frank; her daughter, Catherine Fielder; and her granddaughter, Allyson Keaton.

Jack Suntrup of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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