A longtime former University of Georgia Cooperative Extension employee in Thomas and Grady counties will seek the District 173 Georgia House of Representatives seat in the May 20 primary election.
Don Clark, whose 30-year Cooperative Extension employment was split evenly between the two counties, retired Dec. 31, 2013.
Clark, who is seeking office as a Republican, said that if he is fortunate enough to be elected, he will answer phone calls, respond to constituents and be available.
He would place pending House bills on his website, where District 173 citizens could respond with questions and how they feel about proposed legislation.
“I am going to know how these bills will affect everyone in the district,” Clark said. “I’m not representing Don Clark. I’m representing District 173.”
Clark said that if he does not have answers to citizens’ questions, he will find answers and return to constituents with information.
District 173, whose seat is currently held by Thomas County Republican Darlene Taylor, is comprised of the southwestern one-third of Thomas County, which includes one-half of Thomasville, all of Grady County and the southern half of Decatur County.
A Grady County resident since 1983, Clark, 59, was born at Sarasota, Fla. He grew up in Sarasota County on a vegetable and cattle farm.
A 1978 University of Florida graduate, Clark worked full time at a Winn-Dixie meat market to pay his way through college.
“I was the first one in my family to go to college,” he said.
Clark’s first job after college graduation was managing a cattle farm near Kissimmee, Fla.
“I am not a stranger to long hours,” he said.
Clark said he has been solving problems for people for more than three decades. “I get a lot of satisfaction from that,” he explained.
Father two grown sons, Clark said that as a legislator he would work hard and attempt to make a difference in the district.
His platform is agriculture and agribusiness, including forestry and wildlife management.
“I am very into economic development,” said Clark.
He also is interested in district education and youth development.
“I think we have a very strong education system,” he said, adding that he wants to “beef up” positive youth development.
“Thomasville’s done an excellent job with a Boys & Girls Club. Cairo has just begun one,” Clark said.
Youth development, he said, also involves YMCAs, 4-H, Future Farmers of America and Boy and Girl scouts.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.