Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slay Returns to Home Base to Bask in Victory ; Party Held at Site of Political Roots

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Slay Returns to Home Base to Bask in Victory ; Party Held at Site of Political Roots

Article excerpt

ALDERMANIC PRESIDENT-to-be Francis G. Slay gave an encore victory party at noon Wednesday at the Cedars, scene of his post-election celebration the night before.

Slay trounced six fellow Democrats Tuesday in a primary election for aldermanic president. He garnered 46.2 percent of the vote - more than twice that of the second-place finisher. He has no opponent in the April 4 general election.

Wednesday, as hundreds stood in the Cedars' cafeteria line, Slay wandered the gymnasium-sized room, accepting congratulatory hugs and handshakes from many who have known him since he was a child.

The setting was appropriate. It was the regular weekly luncheon at the Cedars, which has served up political and Lebanese-Syrian fare every Wednesday for generations.

The Cedars - parish hall of St. Raymond's Maronite Church - also houses the office of his father, Francis R. Slay, the hall's catering manager. The elder Slay is a former city recorder of deeds and the longtime head of the 23rd Ward Democratic organization, one of the city's strongest.

The younger Slay is the second of Francis R. and Ann Slay's 11 children. He's the only politician among the offspring, although nine of his siblings worked in his campaign. (The 10th lives in Texas.)

His grandfather, Joseph R. Slay, immigrated from Lebanon and settled in the neighborhood around St. Raymond's. He was 7th Ward alderman from 1946 to 1950.

Francis G. Slay, 39, has lived in the 23rd Ward all his life. He resides in the 6600 block of Oleatha Avenue with his wife, Kim, and their children, Francis Jr., 11, and Katherine, 7. The children attend their father's old school, Epiphany Catholic School.

Slay has been that ward's alderman for 10 years - winning by large margins.

While he moves comfortably in the limelight, he has a quiet, subdued manner that sets him apart in the often raucous world of city politics. He dresses conservatively like the corporate lawyer he is. He speaks slowly and economically, choosing his words with care.

His wire-rimmed glasses give him a bookish look. But Slay first became known in this soccer town as an outstanding athlete.

He got a full scholarship to soccer powerhouse Quincy College in Quincy, Ill. There he played on three national championship teams, was the team's high scorer and was a national scholar athlete. He also played in the longest soccer game on record, a five-hour marathon.

Slay graduated in 1977 with a degree in political science. Three years later, he acquired a law degree at St. Louis University. He was a clerk at the Missouri Court of Appeals, then joined the firm of Guilfoil, Petzall & Shoemake, where he is a partner.

Slay's affiliation with the Guilfoil firm became an issue in the primary when he said he would keep his law practice if elected. Several opponents contended that Slay would be a part-time aldermanic president and would face numerous conflicts of interest. …

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