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Cori Bush Sets Sights On D.C. After Toppling Clay Dynasty

cori bush arch
Jason Rosenbaum
Cori Bush, the Democratic nominee for Missouri's 1st Congressional District seat, stands near the Gateway Arch on Wednesday. Bush won a landmark primary victory Tuesday against Rep. Lacy Clay.

Missouri 1st Congressional District Democratic nominee Cori Bush has been a protest leader, a single mom, a pastor and a nurse. Now she’s likely headed to Washington, D.C.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum noted earlier this week, her win over U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay in Tuesday’s primary marks the first time an active participant in the protests over Michael Brown’s death has been on track to join Congress.

"I can’t emphasize how big of a deal that is for a lot of people in St. Louis who have toiled in that movement for years,” he said.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Bush joined host Sarah Fenske to talk about her goals for office, what she sees as the biggest challenges ahead and how she feels about ending the Clay family’s 52-year dynasty.

“This is the next step, it’s the continuation,” Bush said. “He and I are two different people. … His seniority didn’t touch down to regular people like me.

“I’m somebody that lived out of my car with two babies. I’m somebody that worked low wage. I’m somebody that’s been uninsured, that had a lot of student debt, that I have since paid off,” she said. “I’ve struggled a lot, and so I know the things that we are going through. I’m a victim of crime. I’m a survivor of sexual assault and domestic violence. I know a lot of the struggles we have, and so that is what I’m taking to Congress.”

Later in the show, Fenske spoke with journalists who discussed the remarkable legacy of the family dynasty Bush toppled: Tim Poor, who covered Clay’s father’s long tenure in Congress for many years at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and political reporter Eli Yokley, who has closely followed Clay’s recent terms in office. We also heard from journalist Deirdre Shesgreen, who covered Clay’s first four terms in office when she was a reporter at the Post-Dispatch.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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