Monday, March 29, 2010

Mike Clark Runs For 1st District Congressional Seat

In the last few weeks I've noticed the growing presence of a Democrat candidate in the 1st District, Mike Clark, and he's been organizing quietly on numerous social media outlets - but starting today, he's making a more formal series of announcements.

Mike contacted me today via email about his campaign and offered the following comments:

Mike Clark, a Johnson City native, has announced his bid for the First Congressional District seat currently being held by Republican Dr. Phil Roe.

Clark is running in the primary campaign as a Democrat. He is the Editor of The Loafer (a weekly entertainment magazine in the Tri-Cities), and is married and the father of three children - Carissa, Jenna Kay, and Joshua.

"I'm running because this area needs to hear another voice and be given the opportunity to vote for a different philosophy than one which never proposes, but only opposes," Clark says.

Mike Clark for Congress officially kicks off Saturday, April 17, 2010 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. at the Carter County Courthouse in Elizabethton. The site was not chosen at random.

"The last Democrat to represent this part of East Tennessee in Washington was Robert L. Taylor, who left office in 1881. We hope to go back to that county and start something fresh - perhaps we can begin a new tradition of voting in the First District," Clark says.

Clark says his focus in the campaign will be on jobs, education and the environment - three things he considers linked when thinking about the future of this country, and especially about the future of East Tennessee.

"Washington thinks its a bad thing to bring money back to districts anymore, especially when it might actually make a difference in people's lives. We need a representative in Washington who isn't afraid to defend the needs of his constituents to leadership in Washington of either party - and I won't feel the need to carry water for people just because I'm a Democrat.

"We need for jobs to come back home and we need new jobs; we need environmental programs that are sane and sustainable, and we need education to teach children - and adults - how to perform these new jobs for fair wages. We need sensible plans that will lift all segments of society - from large businesses to the smallest child."

Clark is also keen on helping veterans. "I have members of my family serving overseas, and members of my family who served in the past - my father in World War II. It is absolutely appalling that any veteran is hungry and homeless. We have a duty to see that veterans always have a home, and if I'm elected this is a fight I will take on ... to ensure that we once again treat our veterans with the dignity they deserve."

Clark knows the path will be rough, and the odds are long. "We're gonna work hard, work the grassroots and send the message out. The response has been tremendous so far, and we're only getting started."

Mike Clark can be found on the internet at and on Facebook, by typing in Mike Clark for Congress.

I've written before on my deep dissatisfaction with Rep. Roe who holds the seat now - and more importantly, that the 1st District deserves more than they've gotten over the last 130 years with only one party - the Republicans - controlling access to Congress. It's especially true now since Rep.Roe's only strategy for governing is to stall and stonewall in Congress rather than working to move our community and nation forward into the 21st century.

In coming days and weeks, I'll have more on Mike's campaign and perhaps an interview as well. Getting the attention of residents in the 1st District is no simple task - local traditional media like newspapers, radio and television must step in to inform the public that a choice exists, that there are issues to be debated and discussed, and that part of the job of the press is to challenge and question our elected officials and to keep residents informed about elections and candidates.

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