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Hansen Clarke

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Subject: John Conyers, Gary Peters (politician), United States House of Representatives elections in Michigan, 2012, Bangladeshi American, United States House of Representatives elections, 2010
Collection: 1957 Births, African-American Members of the United States House of Representatives, African-American People, American Former Muslims, American People of Bangladeshi Descent, American Roman Catholics, Bangladeshi Roman Catholics, Cass Technical High School Alumni, Converts to Roman Catholicism from Islam, Cornell University Alumni, Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning Alumni, Democratic Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Georgetown University Law Center Alumni, Living People, Members of the Michigan House of Representatives, Members of the United States Congress of Asian Descent, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan, Michigan Democrats, Michigan State Senators, People from Detroit, Michigan, Politicians from Detroit, Michigan
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Hansen Clarke

Hansen Clarke
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 13th district
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 3, 2013
Preceded by Carolyn Kilpatrick
Succeeded by John Conyers
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 1st district
In office
January 1, 2003 – January 1, 2011
Preceded by Ray Murphy
Succeeded by Coleman Young
Personal details
Born (1957-03-02) March 2, 1957
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Cornell University
Georgetown University
Religion Roman 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 1
  • Michigan legislature 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
  • U.S. House of Representatives 3
    • Tenure 3.1
    • Elections 3.2
      • 2010 3.2.1
      • 2012 3.2.2
    • 2014 3.3
    • Committee assignments 3.4
  • Electoral history 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

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 an African-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

Michigan Senate
Preceded by
Ray Murphy
Member of the Michigan Senate
from the 1st district

Succeeded by
Coleman Young
United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Carolyn Kilpatrick
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 13th congressional district

Succeeded by
John Conyers
  • Congressman Hansen Clarke official U.S. House site
  • Hansen Clarke for Congress official campaign site
  • Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Profile at Project Vote Smart
  • Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
  • Hansen Clarke at
    • Voting record: 1999–2000, 2001–2002, 2003–2006, 2007–2010
  • Michigan Bureau of Elections – Hansen Clarke (State Senate) campaign finance reports and data
  • Michigan Bureau of Elections – Hansen Clarke (State House) campaign finance reports and data
  • Michigan Liberal – SD01
  • Senator Clarke's speech on home foreclosures on YouTube

External links

  1. ^ Michigan Legislative Service Bureau (2006). Michigan Manual 2005–2006. Lansing, MI: Legislative Council, State of Michigan. p. 130.  
  2. ^ a b c d Michigan Senate Democrats (2007). "Michigan Senate Democrats: About Hansen Clarke". Archived from the original on 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-03-09. 
  3. ^ [3] US Embassy
  4. ^ [4] South Asia Journal
  5. ^
  6. ^ University of Detroit Mercy Law. "Hansen Clarke: Faculty Biography". Retrieved 13 February 2013. 
  7. ^ Scott Dorsey, Melanie. "Detroit Fire Department gets $22.5-million grant to preserve jobs". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  8. ^ "THOMAS: Bill Summary and Status". Library of Congress. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  9. ^ "1 Million People Show Support for Student Loan Forgiveness Act". US News and World Report. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  10. ^ GovTrack. "H.R. 4848 (112th): Save Our Neighborhoods Act of 2012". Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  11. ^ Keating, Patrick. "Hansen Clarke co-sponsoring bipartisan literacy program". Michigan Chronicle. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Cwiek, Sarah. "Detroit Congressman wants to make "ban the box" federal law". Michigan Radio. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  13. ^ Detroit Free Press: Clarke upsets Kilpatrick as family dynasty ends (Aug. 3, 2010)
  14. ^ Voice of America: First Bangladeshi-American elected to US Congress (Nov. 3, 2010)
  15. ^ "New 14th District lines heat up race for Peters and Clarke". The Detroit News. 26 July 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  16. ^ "Southfield Mayor: Detroit, don't drop dead". Detroit News. January 23, 2014. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Fighting the power: Hansen Clarke vs. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick". The Smirking Chimp. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  18. ^ Ann Arborite Choi Palms-Cohen – A whirlwind romance's political turn, Eve Silberman, 2 November 2010,, accessed 7 January 2011


Clarke is married to Choi Palms-Cohen.[17] They married in 2007, after meeting at the offices of the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE) in Ann Arbor, Michigan where she worked.[18] They live on Detroit's east side where Clarke was born and raised.

Personal life

Electoral history

Committee assignments

In May 2013, Peters announced that he would not be running for re-election in 2014. He instead ran for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democrat Carl Levin. Clarke attempted to win this seat back, however was defeated in the primary by Brenda Lawrence.[16]


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 mayor Brenda 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]


In the general election, Clarke easily defeated Republican John Hauler, and became the third American of South Asian descent elected to Congress.[14]

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]



Clarke was a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

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 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]

Home foreclosures

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]

Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012 (H.R. 4170)

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]

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]


U.S. House of Representatives

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


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.


Michigan legislature

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.


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