Yvette Diane Clarke (born November 21, 1964) is the U.S. Representative for New York's 11th congressional district, serving since 2007, and the Chair of the United States House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emerging Threats, Cybersecurity, Science and Technology since 2007 as well. She is a member of the Democratic Party.
The district includes much of central Brooklyn, including Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, Prospect Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and Park Slope. Clarke was formerly a member of the New York City Council, representing the 40th council district in Brooklyn.
Early life, education and career
Born the child of Jamaican immigrant parents, Clarke has lived all her life in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Flatbush. Upon graduating from Edward R. Murrow High School, she earned a scholarship to Oberlin College in Ohio, where she completed most of her education, before transferring to Medgar Evers College for her final semester.
She is two classes short of fully completing her degree. According to her Congressional home page, she was also a recipient of the "prestigious APPAH/Sloan Fellowship in Public Policy and Policy Analysis".
Clarke worked as Director of Business Development for the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation and was the second Director of the Bronx portion of the New York City Empowerment Zone.
New York City Council
Brooklyn's 40th council district elected Clarke to the New York City Council in 2001. She succeeded her mother, former City Council member Una S.T. Clarke, who held the seat for more than a decade.
As a member of the Council, she instituted an HIV/AIDS Task Force, a Sanitation Task Force, a Youth Task Force and organized an Ad Hoc Clergy Committee. She was chair of the Contracts Committee and was also co-chair of the Council's Women's Caucus.
Clarke also served on the Education; Fire & Criminal Justice Services; Health; Land Use; Planning, Dispositions & Concessions; and, Rules, Privileges & Elections committees.
Clarke is an advocate for the empowerment of women and minorities and introduced legislation that resulted in the Council's Minority & Women-Owned Business Empowerment (MWBE) study that that found women and minority-owned businesses are not awarded their fair share of city contracts. This finding forced New York City to end its system of economic discrimination. As co-chair of the New York Council's Women's Caucus, Clarke secured $9.5 million in funding for organizations that addressed the issues of domestic violence prevention, breast cancer awareness, housing and HIV/AIDS counseling for women.
She cosponsored City Council resolutions that opposed the war in Iraq, criticized the federal USA PATRIOT Act, and called for a national moratorium on the death penalty. She was a frequent critic of the Bush administration's policies, and opposed budget cuts by Bush and the Republican Congress on several programs addressing women's rights and poverty.
U.S. House of Representatives
In April, 2007, Clarke was the sole member of Congress to oppose a bill that renamed the Ellis Island Library after British-born Bob Hope.
On September 29, 2008, Clarke voted in support of HR 3997, the Emergency Economic Stability Act of 2008.
The act failed, 205-228. There was also legislation written by Clarke to improve the process of getting names off the No Fly List. It was passed 413-3 on February 3, 2009. In November 2009 she was one of 54 members of Congress that sent a letter urging President Obama to use diplomatic pressure to resolve the blockade affecting Gaza. She has since retracted her support of the letter.
On March 25, 2010, Clarke introduced the "International Cybercrime Reporting and Cooperation Act - H.R.4962" (full text) before Congress.
In 2000, Una Clarke ran in the Democratic primary against U.S.
Congressman Major Owens, losing to the incumbent. In the 2004 election cycle, Yvette Clarke, with only two and a half years’ service as an elected official, ran for Owens' seat in the 2004 election cycle, narrowly losing.
In May 2006, another Caribbean-American candidate, Assemblyman N. Nick Perry, withdrew from the race to succeed Congressman Major Owens, leading some observers to contend that Clarke's chances for winning the race would improve now that another candidate from the same community was no longer competing.
On August 24, 2006, Clarke made a public disclosure revealing that her prior claims to have graduated from Oberlin College were false. Her campaign website for the 2004 elections had made the statement that she was an alumna of Oberlin, a claim that was repeated in her campaign biography submitted for the Campaign Finance Board Voter Guide the following year. Aides to Yvette Clarke maintained that she did in fact attend Oberlin, but completed her degree-bearing program at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.
Clarke further explained that, though she had recalled finishing her degree, school officials informed her that she remains "two classes short of the requirements" for her diploma. In the days following this revelation, it was disclosed that in 1996, the New York State Office of Higher Education — now known as the Higher Education Services Corp. — sought a court injunction forcing Clarke to begin to repay outstanding student loans, $4,268 was still in arrears, according to state officials. The Campaign Finance Board requires that candidates running for office in New York City sign "sworn statements that the information in their profiles is true to the best of their knowledge." A spokesman for the Clarke campaign, Stefan Friedman, maintained that Clarke had "redeemed her loan from the Higher Educational Services Corporation in 1996," and that "she has consistently paid down those loans in accordance with an agreed-upon payment schedule."
On September 12, 2006, Clarke won the nomination to Congress with just 31.20% of the vote. (In multi-candidate congressional elections in New York, a plurality is sufficient to nominate.) In the general election on November 7, Clarke was elected to the House of Representatives with 89% of the vote against token Republican opposition in an overwhelmingly Democratic district.
Clarke was re-elected on November 4, 2008 by a large margin.
Clarke was re-elected on November 2, 2010 by a large margin.
December 27th, 2011