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Biography Hansen Clarke

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Hansen Clarke Hansen Clarke
Hansen Clarke
American democratic politician - former U.S. Representative for Michigan's 13th congressional district from 2011 to 2013.


Hansen Clarke Biography

ENG: Hansen H. Clarke (born March 2, 1957) is an American politician. 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. Clarke was also the first U.S. Congressman of Bangladeshi descent. He visited Bangladesh on a goodwill tour from US government.

Clarke entered Congress after ousting incumbent Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the 2010 Democratic primary for the 13th congressional district. In 2012, due to redistricting, Clarke was forced to run against fellow incumbent Gary Peters in the 14th congressional district primary. Clarke lost the primary to Peters, and left Congress in January 2013.


Early life, education, and early political career

Clarke was born in Detroit, Michigan to father Mozaffar Ali Hashim, an immigrant from Bangladesh, and to mother, Thelma Clarke who is African-American. 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 attended Cass Technical High School, and later graduated from Governor Dummer Academy, a Massachusetts boarding school.

Clarke attended Cornell University, graduating with a degree in fine arts. Clarke was 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 and was selected for membership in the Quill and Dagger society. He earned a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center in 1987.

Clarke worked as chief of staff to U.S. Representative John Conyers, and prior to that, on the County Executive's staff of Wayne County, during the administration of Edward H. McNamara.


Michigan legislature - Elections

Clarke was first elected to the Michigan House of Representatives in 1990 and served one term before being defeated in the Democratic primary in 1992 by Joe Young, Jr. He was also elected in 1998 and 2000 to the Michigan House.

Hansen Clarke was then elected to the Michigan Senate in 2002, defeating incumbent Senator Ray Murphy. After an unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2005, Senator Clarke was re-elected to his seat in the Senate in 2006.



Since his election, Representative Clarke made it his mission to cut auto insurance rates by 20%. In addition to introducing legislation, Representative Clarke toured the state promoting insurance reform.


U.S. House of Representatives - Tenure

A profile of Clarke cited his reason for running for Congress stemming from his desire "to help one of the nation's poorest House districts." Clarke supports progressive causes and generally focuses on economic and urban issues.

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.


Elections - 2010

In pursuing a seat in Congress during the 2010 election, Clarke noted that he lives debt-free after following advice from anti-debt financial planner Dave Ramsey and that he is committed to attacking deficit spending without raising taxes. Clarke defeated seven-term incumbent U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick in the Democratic primary for Michigan's 13th District in Aug. 3, 2010. The 13th was a heavily Democratic, black-majority district, but will be dramatically changed under 2012 redistricting.

In the general election, Clarke easily defeated Republican John Hauler, and became the third American of South Asian descent elected to Congress.



Hansen Clarke ran in the newly-created 14th District. Due to redistricting and decisions to move, Clarke faced fellow Democrat incumbent Gary Peters in the primary. Clarke lost the primary to Peters. Peters faced John Hauler, who was unopposed for the GOP nomination, in the general election. Clarke's advertising focused on Peters' decision to run in the new 14th despite living in Bloomfield Hills, a wealthy suburb outside of the district's boundaries. Peters was re-elected.


Personal life

Clarke is married to Choi Palms-Cohen. They met and married in a whirlwind romance of about three weeks in mid-2007, after meeting at the offices of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she worked. They currently live on Detroit's east side where Clarke was born and raised.

Clarke was raised a Muslim, but converted to Catholicism.





February 8, 2013

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