Republican State Rep. Valerie Clark is facing challenger Sam Park for the House District 101 seat, representing parts of Gwinnett County from Lawrenceville north to Suwanee.
In 2009, prior to getting elected, Clark became embroiled in controversy when she retired as principal of Central Gwinnett High School to end an internal investigation. The school district was investigating whether or not she leveraged her position as principal to try to prevent her son from facing disciplinary action for soliciting marijuana on campus.
Rep. Clark has held the HD 101 seat since 2011, when she unseated one-term Democrat Lee Thompson. Her record in the state legislature marks her squarely as a House Republican caucus team player. This shows, too, in the amount of donations she’s receiving from fellow House Republicans to protect her seat. More than two dozen of her fellow House GOPers have donated to her campaign already, including the likes of Speaker David Ralston, Speaker Pro-Tempore Jan Jones and House Majority Leader Jon Burns.
As a state representative, she supported the discriminatory “religious freedom” measure that was ultimately vetoed by Gov. Nathan Deal.
Rep. Clark also co-sponsored an anti-abortion measure, increasing reporting requirements for minors seeking an abortion without getting parental consent (called judicial bypass). Measures like this are part of the “death by a thousand papercuts” method of eventually making accessing abortion too difficult to actually get. And she voted in favor of funding unregulated, anti-abortion crisis pregnancy centers. Although Rep. Clark is a retired educator, Gov. Deal’s school takeover plan — the “Opportunity School District” amendment — also got her support.
During the most recent legislative session, Rep. Clark was the primary sponsor for just five pieces of legislation. I actually do want to give props for one of these pieces of legislation, a measure to increase HIV testing among pregnant women. This was a bipartisan bill that will help combat Perinatal HIV, when HIV spreads from mother to child during a pregnancy or from breastfeeding.
Despite representing a very diverse district — where nearly one in three residents are not U.S.-born citizens — Rep. Clark also voted for the extremely harsh, anti-immigrant HB 87 back in 2011. This bill was considered a copycat bill of Arizona’s SB 1070, and was a sweeping measure designed to (and effective at) increase policing and harassment of undocumented residents.
Rep. Clark’s record as a state legislator speaks for itself. She’s one more conservative invested the discriminatory politics that need to be left in Georgia’s past.