Jan 19, 2010
Clark appears to be back in the race where he can make a difference
State Sen. Hansen Clarke, D-Detroit, appears to be back in the race he belongs in and where he can make the most difference, the race for the 13th District in Congress currently held by U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, D-Detroit.
Clarke briefly entered the Governor’s race after the Democratic front runner, Lt. Gov. John Cherry, dropped out, but apparently after concluding he did not have enough name recognition to win a state wide race, Clarke dropped out last week. But he told the Free Press he decided to get back in the race when Democratic leaders approached him about the congressional race.
Last year’s primary showed Kilpatrick was vulnerable because of the scandal that sent her son, former disgraced Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, to jail. She was almost unseated in the primary after 13 years in Congress.
Clarke is term-limited after serving three terms in the House and two terms in the Senate. His Senate District represents most of the east side of Detroit, as does the 13th Congressional District. Clarke ran for Mayor in 2005, and he has good name recognition in the district because of that. The 13th Congressional District also includes the Downriver communities of Lincoln Park, Ecorse, River Rouge and Wyandotte, and I don’t think Kilpatrick has the kind of support there that Clarke has or will have.
Clarke serves as the minority vice-chair of the Health Policy Committee and the Commerce and Tourism Committee. He also serves on the Judiciary Committee, the Banking and Financial Institutions Committee and the Government Operations and Reform Committee. He has been an outspoken champion of foreclosure protection and insurance reform, and he has spoken passionately about it on the Senate floor.
Clarke grew up from humble beginnings in a working class neighborhood on Detroit's lower east side to attend an Ivy League university and become an attorney. He was raised alone by his mother, who worked as a school crossing guard, after his father passed away when he was just 8 years old. While in the third grade, an observant teacher recognized his artistic ability that promoted him to take art classes at the Detroit Institute of Arts, and it eventually led to a scholarship to Cornell University where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Clarke then attended Georgetown University Law School. After he received his law degree he returned to Michigan to practice law. He was elected to his first of three terms in the Michigan House in 1990.