The federal government has many valuable programs that can help our residents, and the benefits it provides are a crucial safety-net for many. But the government can be intimidating, and it is not always easy to speak the language of the federal bureaucracy. Sometimes, it's hard to even find the right telephone number to call. As a fiduciary for the 13th Congressional District, I will work to bring Washington D.C. to Detroit -- not the monuments, but people from the different agencies who can meet with residents to explain programs and benefits, and how to take maximum advantage of them. I will work with federal agencies, like the Social Security Administration, the Departments of Health and Human Services, the Federal Housing Administration, and the Small Business Administration, to name just a few, to hold community forums to provide information and assistance. Speaking with an actual person rather than pushing buttons on a telephone is so much more effective, and is one way I can serve as a fiduciary for the District.
Hansen Clarke, a native of the 13th Congressional District, spent most of his life on the east-side of Detroit near Mack and Baldwin. His mother, who became a single parent after his father died when he was eight, raised him on her school crossing-guard salary. Money was tight, but love and support was plentiful.
Recognizing that her son had a gift for the arts, Thelma secured a grant for Hansen to receive private lessons at the Detroit Institute of the Arts. This move would prove to be life changing. Based on his artistic talent, Hansen received a scholarship from Cornell University, where he majored in painting. Concerned that students who needed financial aid might not receive it, Hansen was elected to a student seat on Cornell's Board of Trustees. He worked to ensure that Cornell provide financial aid to students whose families needed assistance. Shortly after graduation, Hansen enrolled at Georgetown Law School were he earned his Juris Doctor degree.
As a visual artist, Hansen recently donated his paintings to charities including the Coalition on Temporary Shelter (COTS).
He was elected three times to the Michigan House of Representatives. In 2002, he was elected to the Michigan State Senate by defeating an incumbent. Clarke represents the 1st District. He is Democratic Vice Chair to two Committees -- Health Policy; Commerce and Tourism -- and he also serves on the Judiciary; Banking and Financial Institutions; Government Operations and Reform; Energy Policy and Public Utilities Committees.
Hansen is the chair of the Cornell University Committee on Sustainability: Energy, Environment, and Economic Development. He served as vice-chairman of the National Conference of State Legislatures Trade, Economic Development and Cultural Affairs, the Michigan Law Revision Commission, as past president of the Michigan Public Purchasing Officers Association, as well as treasurer of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus.