House Speakers Gather to Honor Henry Clay

John Boehner

One current and three former speakers of the House are scheduled to gather together Friday in Lexington, Ky., to pay tribute to another member of their illustrious fraternity – Henry Clay.

In a rare assemblage, Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio is to appear at Transylvania University with three of his predecessors: Representative Nancy Pelosi, the current House minority leader; J. Dennis Hastert, the Illinois Republican who preceded Ms. Pelosi; and Jim Wright, the Texas Democrat who served as speaker from 1987 to 1989.

As part of a celebration of Clay’s election as speaker 200 years ago, the four speakers are to discuss their views on the position and share examples of times when they were able to emulate Clay, known as the “Great Compromiser.”  Clay, who was a law professor and a trustee of the university, served as speaker three times during his years in Congress and is credited with imbuing the post with some of the power it holds today. The events are part of the first Henry Clay Week in Lexington.

“This event offers the public a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see our current and former speakers share the stage in an effort to pay tribute to both Clay and the office itself,” said Robert Clay,  co-chairman of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship.

Perhaps in the spirit of Clay, the participants can come up with a compromise to raising the debt ceiling — a compromise that seems to be eluding current members of Congress at the moment.

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