Democrat – Legislative District 24 House
Phone: (480) 442-6176
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Ken Clark
Address: 325 W. Coronado Rd , Phoenix, AZ 85003
Age: 43. (03/23/71, Long Beach, CA).
Arizona since: 1982
Occupation: Realtor, HomeSmart Elite, Kenneth Clark, PC, since 2006; director, AZ Dept of Commerce Energy Office, 2005-06; managing director/co-owner, Roadrunner Wallaby & Associates, 2001-05; campaign coordinator, New Democrat 2000 Coalition, 1999-2000; grants and communications specialist, Neighborhood Partners, Inc., June-Nov 1999; lobbyist, equal justice fellow, AZ Justice Institute, Jan-June 1999; country director, project director, Search for Common Ground, 1996-98; “Resolutions Radio” creator and producer, 1995-96; national field assistant, The Concord Coalition, 1993-94.
Education: M.A., international relations, The American University, 1995; B.S., political science, NAU, 1993.
Political experience: Campaign manager, “No on 200” public initiative effort, Arizonans for Responsible Lending; co-chair, AZ Competitive Districts Coalition; lobbyist for interests in renewable energy in Arizona; campaign advisor to the Australian Labor Party, Victorian Branch; campaign coordinator, New Democrat 2000 Coalition.
Legis exp: House, 2004-05.
Interests: Running, fitness, gardening and creative writing.
Two biggest issues: Arizona must move past its current status as a pariah state in the eyes of skilled workers, families and businesses so that we can attract investment in a diversified economy. This Republican Legislature thinks only of tax breaks as a means to attract businesses and workers, ignoring the need for a strong public education infrastructure and support for working families and locally owned businesses. Arizona is heading toward potential economic and ecological hazard in its approach to sustainability. While we have the greatest potential in the U.S. for investment in solar energy, our Republican Legislature fails to recognize the growth potential of sustainable practices for purely ideological reasons. Similar attitudes prevail on issues of water, land and resource conservation. I will address these issues by building an alliance of traditionally non-political groups and disenfranchised voters around issues of reform, economic revitalization and diversity.
Budget priorities: As a legislator from 2002 to 2004, I served on the ways and means committee. It is clear that the Republican Legislature has been misguided in its approach to taxes. While leaving $1 billion in potential tax revenue on the table by continuing a list of questionable tax give-a-ways, this ideological Legislature continues to cut much needed revenue. Like many Democrats before, I question the sustainability of this philosophy. In fact, this thinking has proven itself unsustainable in recent years. The Republican Legislature’s “starve the beast” mentality actually costs us more money. By ignoring investment in schools, CPS, parole enforcement and crime prevention, this state is forced to spend more on incarceration, usually provided in the form of payments to private prisons and some charter schools with little or no oversight for taxpayer dollars. By cutting funding for higher education, Arizona has put a generation of new workers deeper in debt, thus undermining our own economic future.
Fiscal philosophy: I was influenced heavily by Paul Tsongas and Warren Rudman of the early Concord Coalition in 1994. Back then, the organization sought bi-partisan and rational ways to eliminate the deficit. I believe that we must be responsible in our spending. However, I do not fall for the argument that the only way to be responsible is to cut taxes for the very wealthy at the detriment of the middle class and working poor. While I am no more likely to promote massive tax increases than I am to support the Republican Legislature’s ceaseless march toward zero taxation, I do believe that we have a responsibility to protect future generations and current goals through pragmatic tax policy.
Common Core: Arizona should continue supporting Common Core, in so much as it provides a standardized method to measure our progress against that of other states. We will be measuring apples against apples, rather than apples against oranges. However, the Legislature must allow teachers the flexibility to reach the goals of Common Core in the best way they know how. Over the years I have seen the Legislature continue to pile state-level mandates on teachers, rather than simply pointing out the goal we want to reach and allowing them more flexibility to reach that goal.
Gifts to elected officials: I believe that all gifts to elected officials should be banned. I know financial advisors who are very limited in what they can give to elected officials because those officials may possibly have an influence on the city or state bonds that the financial advisors handle. Such professional and industry standards of ethics and transparency are given in that industry. Why should they not be in politics?
Transparency in government: From 2011 to 2012, I lead an effort to fight for a greater number of competitive districts through our redistricting process. As such, we developed an on-line mapping tool that allowed citizens to participate more in the process. Had the program continued, we would have been able to deliver real-time public oversight over the process. I believe that is the only way to insure reform in redistricting. In the age of Citizen’s United, transparency is even more important. There is no reason why the unlimited dollars that flow in to Arizona from undisclosed organizations cannot be disclosed to the public. The public has a right to know who is spending money behind what craftily-construed political message. I believe that technology allows us a level of transparency that we have not seen in the past and we need to use that to our advantage.
Pro-life / pro-choice: I am pro-choice.
Public policy advice: I am very lucky in that I completed the Valley Leadership program at Flinn/Brown Leadership Institute. As such, I know that I have access to a large list of people of all political stripes, who have specialties in all walks of life. I most proudly turn to these people.