Farewell Remarks Expressing Gratitude for the Honor of Representing Missouri's First Congressional District

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 4, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CLAY. Madam Speaker, I rise today to offer my farewell remarks as a Member of the U.S. House.

And while I will be sad to leave this historic place, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve Missouri's 1st Congressional District for two decades, and to have been blessed with the friendship of so many colleagues.

I have given my best because my constituents deserved nothing less. I learned that vital lesson about public service from my best advisor and my personal hero . . . my dad, former Congressman Bill Clay.

And the truth is none of my success would have been possible without my remarkable family.

I want to thank the rock of our family, my mother Carol; and my devoted and talented sisters, Vickie and Michelle.

I also want to thank my children, Carol and Will. No Member serves unto themselves. Families also sacrifice greatly. Carol and Will have made me extremely proud. They carry themselves with such dignity, poise, and character. There is no greater joy I have than being their Father. I thank them for being my greatest and best legacy.

To my wonderful wife Pat: I could not have selected a better partner to share in my post-Congressional career. Her love and optimism keep my life balanced and exhilarated. I so look forward to our days to come.

Of course, the best part of being a Member of Congress has been helping tens of thousands of constituents solve issues with the federal government.

None of that could have been possible without my dedicated and compassionate staff over the years--Patricia Green, Sheila Mileszko, Virginia Cook, Debra Miller, Michelle Bogdanovich, Sandra Houston, Ishmael-Lateef Ahmad, Jasmina Hadzic, Sean Weller, Craig Rasmussen, Percy Green, Adam Bordes, Marvin Steele, Richard Pecantte, Frank ``Les'' Davis, Mark Odom, Lou Aboussie, Noelle Lindsey, Brian Williams, Michelle Mitchell, Brittany Packnett, Josh Peters, Pauline Jamry, Perre Smalls, Samantha Williams, Sherry Faulkner, Tony Grandison, Bill Sibert, Frank Taylor, Erica Powell, Matt Alexis, Rico Doss, and my Communications Director Steven Engelhardt, and the late Allison Singfield and the late Dottie Ross.

I would like to extend a special thanks to educator Gwendolyn Reed, who also served as a staffer for both me and my father, Congressman Bill Clay, Sr.

I also want to thank an exceptional American who has devoted 48 years of public service to the U.S. House, my remarkable Constituent Services Director, Edwilla Massey.

I want to thank my devoted Executive Assistant and Scheduler, Karyn Long. Karyn is family. She always went above and beyond for me and I am forever grateful.

I also want to especially thank all my Chiefs of Staff: Harriet Grigsby, Darryl Piggee and Yvette Cravins.

In the book of Matthew chapter 25, verses 36-40, the scriptures read, ``When I was naked you clothed me. I was sick you visited me, when I was in prison you came to me. The righteous answered, Lord, when did we see you hungry, thirsty, clothed you, or in prison visited?'' And the King answered them, ``Truly, I say to you, as you did it to the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.''

These scriptures have been a guidepost for my career in public service. Over my ten terms, I have fearlessly advocated for the permanent interests of African Americans and other unheard voices.

I have had many legislative achievements in this body and I thank all of colleagues who assisted me in doing as the scriptures noted ``caring for the least of these''. In my remaining time, I would like to highlight a few victories.

For 14 years, I hosted the Career Fair at St. Louis' HBCU, Harris- Stowe State University, which connected thousands of job seekers with good paying jobs providing economic stability.

Creating jobs and economic development was a priority for me. We were able to build the new $120 million National Archives Administration Center in North St. Louis County.

The greatest economic victory for North St. Louis was the bipartisan effort to build the headquarters of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency. That $1.7 billion project is the largest single federal investment in St. Louis history, of which I am extremely proud.

As Chair of the Financial Services Housing Subcommittee, I secured the renovation of over 200 units of housing at the old Homer G. Phillips hospital in North St. Louis and an additional 200 plus units in Wellston with the help of St. Louis County.

People in my district, particularly the elderly, deserve to live with dignity and security.

As Chair of the Oversight Census Subcommittee, I worked to ensure Census 2010 was successful and addressed the digital divide in vulnerable communities.

My focus on healthcare led to The Everson Walls and Ron Springs Gift of Life legislation, increasing grants to states and expanded organ and tissue registry for minorities.

I have been a champion for environmental justice, cleaning up waste sites often lingering in minority neighborhoods.

My environmental record includes $5 million to clean up the former St. Louis Army Ammunition plant: $30 million to clean up the former Carter Carburetor plant; and $266 million to clean up West Lake Landfill which holds waste from the Manhattan Project.

Lastly, one of my signature achievements was the African-American Civil Rights Network Act. The National Park's program educates generations on the struggles of African Americans who demanded full civil rights in spite of violence and hate.

I am proud of my legacy and work for Missouri's first Congressional District.

May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America.