Center Aisle congressional caucus to hold discussion on Danforth Campus Feb. 24

Members of the Center Aisle Caucus, U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.) and U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.) will discuss “A Vision for Civility” at 4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24, in the main dining room of the Charles F. Knight Executive Education Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sponsored by the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics, the discussion, which is free and open to the public, will address the roles that citizens, elected leaders and the media can and should play in promoting civility in a democratic society and how we can all constructively engage in vigorous debates without demonizing those with whom we disagree.

The Center Aisle Caucus was formed in 2005 to provide a forum for building relationships among members.

Since then, the caucus has hosted many thought-provoking guests and events. Speakers have included former House of Representatives speaker Tom Foley, former House minority leader Bob Michel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin, pollster John Zogby, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as several ambassadors, authors and policy experts.

The event will be moderated by Wayne Fields, PhD, the Lynne Cooper Harvey Distinguished Professor of English in Arts & Sciences and director of the Center on Religion & Politics.


Emerson is the first Republican woman to represent Missouri in Congress and has served eight-plus terms in the House of Representatives.

She is a member of the Appropriations Committee, the chair of the Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee and also sits on the Agriculture Subcommittee and Legislative Branch Subcommittee.

Currently, Emerson serves as chair of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Committee on the Civil Dimension of Security. She is co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Congressional Hunger Center, one of the nation’s leading hunger relief organizations.

Emerson also is a founding member of the Bipartisan Congressional Retreat, whose mission is to foster better relations in Congress with members from each party.


Carnahan was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2004 and has worked to help families and businesses throughout the greater St. Louis region by supporting strong economic development, encouraging innovation and preserving national security through greater international engagement.

Carnahan serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the Veterans Affairs Committee and is ranking member on the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, where he has called for a strict accounting of the rebuilding efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Carnahan has promoted the St. Louis region as a hub for innovation, particularly in developing new, clean sources of energy that will create new jobs, cut energy costs for families and businesses and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Clay was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2000, succeeding his father, the Honorable Bill Clay, who served for 32 years and was a founding member of the Congressional Black Caucus.


Prior to his election to the U.S. House, Clay served for 17 years in both chambers of the Missouri Legislature.

Clay was selected to join the House Democratic leadership team where he serves as one of eight Deputy Democratic Whips. He is tasked with coordinating votes among delegations in Region IV, which includes Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Clay serves on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has major oversight and investigative responsibilities for the operations of the federal government.

Clay is also a member of the Financial Services Committee, where he serves as the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy. The Financial Services Committee has broad jurisdiction over banking, insurance, investment firms, pensions, consumer credit and capital markets.

For more information on the event, contact the Danforth Center for Religion & Politics at (314) 935-9345.