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Commentary by U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay: Jobs, education, health

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 25, 2010 - This election comes as we are slowly emerging from the greatest economic emergency since the 1930s.

Thankful, we took some strong steps to prevent a Second Great Depression, but the recovery is still much too slow and we need to keep working to create jobs.

My priorities for the First Congressional District are constant, and so is my commitment to achieving them:

I stand for jobs, education, health care and housing.

That's never changed, because those are the four corners of the foundation for building a stronger community and a more secure country.

On top of that, I'm doing everything in my power to keep America safe, protect the voting rights of every citizen, and stand up for veterans and senior citizens.

So this election is about a very clear choice ...

My Republican opponent wants to reverse course, cancel the Recovery Act, put insurance companies back in charge of your health care, give Wall Street speculators a free handle to steal even more of your retirement dollars, and then explode the deficit by giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.

Her Tea Party friends and the Republican leadership are part of an extremist partnership who want to use intolerance, ignorance and outright lies to cripple President Barack Obama, and turn America back to a much darker time. I'm confident that the voters of the First Congressional District will totally reject that.

Over the past year, one of the things that I'm most proud of is our successful fight to save 16,000 jobs in North County at Boeing.

The Missouri congressional delegation went to work in a bipartisan way to save the C-17 program and to win a long-term, multi-year contract for the Navy to buy additional F-18 Superhornets to close the carrier-based fighter gap.

That was a tough fight to save skilled, union manufacturing jobs here at home, and I was proud to lead the effort.

I'm also very pleased at the pending deal with the Royal Saudi Air Force that will keep the F-15 line up and running for years to come.

Keeping America safe and saving good American jobs is always a top priority and I'm proud that we were able to get that done for St. Louis.

My opponent is hoping that the American people have forgotten that Republicans were responsible for bringing our economy to the brink -- more than 8 million jobs lost, national debt nearly doubled, the foreign-held debt more than doubled, $17.5 trillion in household wealth and retirement security lost, and the worst private sector jobs record of any administration in 75 years.

The American people know that we have to keep moving forward to restore our economy, and the worst thing that we could do is to return to the failed GOP policies that caused this recession.

It is a true honor for me to represent Missouri's First Congressional District, and I respectfully ask for your vote to continue fighting for what really matters to you and your family.