|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives|
from Missouri's 5th district
January 3, 2005
|51st Mayor of Kansas City|
Emanuel Cleaver II
October 26, 1944
Waxahachie, Texas, U.S.
|Education||Prairie View A&M University (BS)|
Saint Paul School of Theology (MDiv)
Emanuel Cleaver II (born October 26, 1944) is a United Methodist pastor and an American politician who is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Cleaver represents Missouri's 5th congressional district, elected in 2005. The district includes the southern three-fourths of Kansas City, including all of the city south of the Missouri River, as well as the more rural counties of Lafayette, Ray, and Saline east of Jackson. Cleaver is a member of the Democratic Party, and in January 2010, he became chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, a position he held until 2019.
Cleaver served on the Kansas City Council from 1979 to 1991, until he was elected Mayor, serving from 1991 to 1999. In 2004, Cleaver was elected to represent Missouri's 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Cleaver was born in Waxahachie, Texas, the son of Marie (née McKnight) and Lucky G. Cleaver. He grew up in public housing in Wichita Falls, Texas. He graduated from Prairie View A&M University where he became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Cleaver then moved to Kansas City where he founded a branch of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and received a Master of Divinity degree from St. Paul School of Theology.
Cleaver served as Kansas City Councilman from 1979 to 1991 and as Mayor of Kansas City for two terms from 1991 until 1999. He was the first African American Mayor of Kansas City. During the last days of his tenure as Mayor, Reverend Cleaver agreed to an international visit to London, England. On the invitation of UK NGO Operation Black Vote he assisted in campaigning for increased electoral participation in the elections for the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. His visit culminated in a keynote speech at Westminster City Hall alongside British political figures including Ken Livingstone, Simon Hughes and Lee Jasper. Cleaver is a cousin to exiled Kansas City Black Panther leader Pete O'Neal. In 1997, Cleaver attempted unsuccessfully to obtain a pardon for O'Neal from President Bill Clinton.
After the compromise Budget Control Act deal had been reached to resolve the 2011 United States debt ceiling crisis in August 2011, Cleaver wrote on Twitter calling it a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich."
During his tenure, Cleaver has voted with the Democratic Party 95.8% of the time. He has been recognized as a congressman who is "not shy about earmarks" and has brought many tax dollars back to Kansas City.
On April 6, 2012, the Kansas City Star reported that Bank of America had sued Cleaver Company LLC over a commercial real estate loan for a Grandview car wash. In a lawsuit filed March 30, Bank of America said Cleaver, his wife Dianne, and the company owed over $1.46 million on the loan.
On September 11, 2014 around 2:50 a.m. what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail was thrown through the window of Cleaver's Kansas City office. He was in Washington D.C. at the time and no staff members were present during the attack.
In late 2003, Karen McCarthy, who had represented the 5th Congressional District since 1995, announced her retirement. Despite having served in city government for 20 years, including eight years as mayor, Cleaver initially posted weak numbers in the Democratic primary and general elections. Cleaver went on to defeat former Clinton Administration official Jamie Metzl in the Democratic primary by a margin of 60-40 percent. In the general election, Republican Jeanne Patterson made the race far more competitive than conventional wisdom would suggest for the district, which has long been reckoned as the second-most Democratic district in Missouri (behind the St. Louis-based 1st Congressional District). The Democrats have held this seat for all but eight years since 1909, and without interruption since 1949. By comparison, McCarthy won 65 percent of the vote in 2002.
During the course of the contentious 2008 Democratic Presidential Primary, Cleaver endorsed Hillary Clinton. Cleaver claimed that African American superdelegates who supported Clinton were subjected to harassment, threatened with primary opponents and called "Uncle Tom." He said they were told, "You're not black if you're not supporting Barack Obama. ... It's ugly." On March 30, 2008, he was interviewed on The Sunday Edition on CBC Radio and said he realized he was on the losing team: "Even though I don't expect the Kansas City Chiefs to beat the Indianapolis Colts, I cheer for the Kansas City Chiefs." According to BlackMissouri.com.,U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois asked Cleaver, "If it comes down to the last day and you're the only superdelegate? ... Do you want to go down in history as the one to prevent a black from winning the White House?" "I told him I'd think about it," Cleaver explained. Cleaver said during the course of the primary he'd be shocked if Obama wasn't the next President but made it clear he still supported Clinton until she suspended her bid.
Emanuel Cleaver and his wife, Dianne, have four children. They reside in Kansas City.
| Mayor of Kansas City
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Missouri's 5th congressional district
| Chair of Congressional Black Caucus
|U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)|
G. K. Butterfield
| United States Representatives by seniority