By Susanne Reynolds
THOMASVILLE — Don Clark recently retired at the Georgia Cooperative Extension agent in Grady County. He believes his experience on the farm will come in hand if he wins the race for the Georgia House District 173 seat.
After he finished college, he managed a farm for an absentee owner.
“I had to make decisions and pay bills. It was like running the farm like it’s your own. This experience also helped me to adjust to the UGA Extension,” Clark said.
During Extension career, he shared research information with area farmers. He learned to identify with them and the many challenges they face.
He said, “I could help them solve their problems with marketing and pest problems because of the research base stations in Georgia and all over the country. When you’re in the mode of farmer, things can’t wait. It’s urgent and you can’t wait to fix the problem.
“If elected as representative, I would be able to respond quickly to the needs of the people.”
The experience he gained led him to challenge Rep. Darlene Taylor in the May 20 Republican primary. He said received encouragement to pursue the position.
“I can bring problem solving to the district because I understand the district. Since I’m retired, I can work full time and make life better. That’s my motivation — to make a positive impact,” Clark said.
Clark said boosting employment is one of his primary concerns.
“We need to look at what we have going on in our area. We need to look to compliment the industries that are already here and add value to commodities,” he said.
Clark said the district is attractive to industries because of its colleges.
He said, “I’ve had conversations with the presidents of Bainbridge State College, Southwest Georgia Technical College and Thomas University. They are all willing to design programs for any industry. They are seeking opportunities. We are unique because of this willingness to learn.”
Of course, supporting agriculture is close to Clark’s heart because of his background. He wants to educate people about farming.
“We have people who don’t understand it and are putting pressure on the farmers. They need to know how it works — anything to strengthen the economics of the industry,” said Clark.
Clark also wants to focus on health care issues.
He said, “Millions of dollars are wasted on a weekly basis because of abuse in this country. We need to cut the abuse out and focus on affordable health care.”