Thursday, 22 October 2015


 BLACK    SOCIAL   HISTORY                                                                                                                                            Hansen Clarke

Hansen Clarke
Hansen Clarke, Official Portrait, 112th Congress.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 13th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded byCarolyn Kilpatrick
Succeeded byJohn Conyers
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 1st district
In office
January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2011
Preceded byRay Murphy
Succeeded byColeman Young
Personal details
BornMarch 2, 1957 (age 58)
Political partyDemocratic
Alma materCornell University
Georgetown University
ReligionRoman Catholicism
Hansen Clarke (born March 2, 1957) is an American politician and former U.S. Congressman and Representative-elect in the 14th Congressional District of Michigan. A Democrat, he was the U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district from 2011 to 2013. Prior to his election to Congress, he had been a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1991 through 1992 and from 1999 through 2002, and had represented the 1st District in the Michigan Senate from 2003 to 2011.[1][2] Clarke was also the first U.S. Congressman of Bangladeshi descent.[3][4]
Clarke entered Congress after defeating incumbent Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the 2010 Democratic primary for the 13th congressional district. In 2012, due to redistricting, fellow incumbent Gary Peters chose to run against Clarke in the 14th congressional district primary. Clarke came in second in the Primary, while Peters gained the most votes. Clarke left Congress in January 2013.
In April 2014, Clarke announced he would again run in the 14th District primary, for the seat to be vacated by Peters, who is running for U.S. Senate.

Early life, education, and early political career

Clarke was born in Detroit, Michigan to father Mozaffar Ali Hashem who was an immigrant from Beanibazar Bangladesh, and to anAfrican-American mother.[2] He grew up in the city's Lower East Side. His father died when he was a child and his mother worked as a crossing guard to support her family. Clarke's father died when he was 8 years old, but he says his father greatly influenced him and that he strongly identifies with his father's culture.[5] Clarke is an alumnus of Cass Technical High School, and later graduated from The Governor's Academy, a Massachusetts boarding school.[2]
Clarke attended Cornell University, graduating with a degree in fine arts. Clarke is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. While at Cornell, he became interested in public service and electoral politics. He was elected to the student seat on the Cornell University Board of Trustees. He earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987.[2]
Clarke worked on the County Executive's staff of Wayne County, during the administration of Edward H. McNamara, and then as chief of staff to U.S. Representative John Conyers.

Michigan legislature


Clarke was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1990, 1998, and 2000. After his six years in the Michigan House, Hansen Clarke was elected to the Michigan Senate in 2002. Senator Clarke was re-elected to his seat in the Senate in 2006. In 2010, Hansen Clarke was elected to represent the 13th District of Michigan in the United States House of Representatives.


Clarke served on the State Senate Appropriations committee, and later served on the Health Policy and Commerce and Tourism committees.

U.S. House of Representatives


As a member of Congress, he worked toward a vision for America where every person has a fair chance to reach his or her potential.[6]
Clarke championed initiatives to increase investment in the City of Detroit, which resulted in millions of dollars of federal assistance being awarded to the city and the region. He won approval in Congress to increase funding to improve nutrition for low-income families, provide housing for homeless veterans, and better equip and staff local police, fire, and emergency medical providers to bolster homeland security.[7][8]
Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 (H.R. 4170)
Clarke led the effort in Congress to cut student loan debt for millions of Americans by authoring the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012. This bill inspired a national movement, including a petition in support of his legislation that received more than one million signatures that urged Congress to pass H.R. 4170.[9]
Home foreclosures
Clarke also fought foreclosures to save family homes and neighborhoods. He established himself as one of the nation's strongest advocates for struggling homeowners and distressed communities with the Save Our Neighborhoods Act, a bill that would allow many homeowners to stay in their homes by suspending the foreclosure process and reducing their mortgage principal.[10]
Clarke worked to reduce crime and restore hope by addressing the urgent crisis of illiteracy among African-American and Hispanic men. He co-authored a bipartisan resolution initiating national action for literacy.[11] Rep. Clarke also introduced the first federal legislation to "Ban the Box,” which would prohibit unfair discrimination against job applicants with certain criminal backgrounds.[12]
Clarke was a member of the Congressional Black CaucusCongressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.



Clarke defeated seven-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the Democratic primary for Michigan's 13th District—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district—in Aug. 3, 2010.[13]
In the general election, Clarke easily defeated Republican John Hauler, and became the third American of South Asian descent elected to Congress.[14]


After Michigan lost a congressional district in redistricting, most of Clarke's district became the 14th District. Clarke faced fellow Congressman Gary Peters and Southfield mayorBrenda Lawrence in the primary. Peters' 9th district had been eliminated in redistricting, and he chose to run in the 14th. Peters emerged as the winner, and defeated Republican John Hauler in November.[15]

Committee assignments

Electoral history

Personal life

Clarke is married to Choi Palms-Cohen.[16] They married in 2007, after meeting at the offices of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she worked.[17] They live on Detroit's east side where Clarke was born and raised.