Yvette Diane Clarke (born November 21, 1964) currently is a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York's 11th congressional district. She won the Democratic primary election on September 12, 2006, defeating David Yassky, Carl Andrews and Chris Owens in the September Democratic primary. In this heavily Democratic district, Clarke won the general election with 89% of the vote and filled the seat vacated by retiring Representative Major Owens and once held by Shirley Chisholm. The district includes much of central Brooklyn, including Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Kensington, Midwood, and Park Slope. Clarke was formerly a member of the New York City Council, representing the 40th council district in Brooklyn.
When Una Clarke was first elected to the city council, U.S. Congressman Major Owens broke with Democratic Party leadership to support Una's candidacy. Owens was the only elected official from Brooklyn to do so and he continued to campaign for Una despite the fact that he was then recovering from quintuple bypass heart surgery. At Owens' insistence, the 40th district was drawn in such a way as to help assure the election of the Council's first member of Caribbean descent. Despite this show of loyalty, Yvette Clarke challenged Owens to a primary challenge in 2004. She was handily defeated in that election.
Clarke was chair of the Contracts Committee and was also co-chair of the Council's Women's Caucus. She also served on the Education; Fire & Criminal Justice Services; Health; Land Use; Planning, Dispositions & Concessions; and, Rules, Privileges & Elections committees.
As a supposed vocal advocate for the empowerment of women and people of color, Clarke introduced legislation that resulted in the Council's historic Minority & Women-Owned Business Empowerment (MWBE) study that confirmed that women and minority-owned businesses are not awarded their fair share of city contracts and forced New York City to end its system of economic discrimination. As co-chair of the New York Council's Women's Caucus, she was directly responsible for securing $9.5 million in funding for 24 organizations that address the issues of domestic violence prevention, breast cancer awareness, housing advocacy and HIV/AIDS counseling for New York City women.
Councilmember Clarke has used her position in city government to speak out on national issues as well while running for election to higher office. 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 has been a frequent critic of the Bush administration's policies, and has spoken out against budget cuts by Bush and the Republican Congress on the following federal programs: Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), elimination of the Women's Educational Equity Act (WEEA), the elimination of nutritional Food Stamp Programs and early education services for low-income children and families.
In 2000, Una Clarke ran a 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. Yvette Clarke ran again in the next cycle.
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, asserting that her previous erroneous statements were the result of a faulty memory. 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.
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."
Aides to Yvette Clarke maintain that she did in fact attend Oberlin, but completed her degree-bearing program at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn. Clarke went on to explain the discrepancy by asserting that she did not attain her degree — contrary to her initial belief — and was in contact with school officials, who maintained that she had to complete two classes in order to acquire 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 of which she is still in arrears, according to state officials. 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.
On September 29, 2008, Clarke voted in support of HR 3997, the Emergency Economic Stability Act of 2008. The act failed, 205-228.
Inventor of wire lobster trap to get degree of appreciation ; Jim Knott, who found something that worked better than wood, is set for a UM honor.
May 10, 2006; Portland Press Herald (Maine) 05-10-2006 Inventor of wire lobster trap to get degree of appreciation ; Jim Knott, who found...