Ferguson activist challenges Democratic representative

Criminal justice and policing reform are in the spotlight in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, which includes St. Louis and Ferguson. One of the candidates in the Aug. 7 Democratic primary is Cori Bush, a pastor who participated in the 2014 Ferguson protests and other local initiatives, and helped organize subsequent rallies. She has also worked as a director of the Truth Telling Project, a group that aims to document the stories of people who have suffered from police brutality. Bush has anchored her campaign on targeting the school-to-prison pipeline, which in one video interview she proposes doing via economic justice and public health reforms like expanding mental health coverage, fighting food deserts, and creating job training programs.

Bush is challenging Representative Lacy Clay, who has held the seat since 2001 and is close to the Democratic leadership of St. Louis County. After Michael Brown’s shooting, Clay lobbied for police reforms like more body cameras and de-escalation training; he supports Medicare for All, as does Bush. He is now campaigning on his legislative experience and on the advantages that his congressional seniority brings to the district, while Bush highlights “the experience that I have from the street.” “When you fight for the community, when you walk with the community, when you’re boots to the ground … now that’s another thing,” she said in the video interview. Two other Democrats will be on the ballot, DeMarco Davison, who recently suspended his campaign, and Joshua Shipp.

Update: U.S. Representative Lacy Clay secured the Democratic nomination on August 7, defeating Cori Bush.

This preview is part of our 2018 election coverage.