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Clark declares First Congressional District candidacy

Hank Hayes • Jan 7, 2020 at 8:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Former Kingsport Mayor John Clark announced on Tuesday his candidacy to become the next First Congressional District representative in the U.S. House.

“I still have a pretty strong passion for public service, which to me means making a positive impact on people,” the 61-year-old retiree said in an interview. “I want to do that by working hard and improving the quality of life.”

Clark will be running in the Republican primary.

He said the No. 1 issue in the campaign is jobs.

“I want to use the congressional seat to cover the entire district to bring together our mayors, city managers, elected officials, workforce development teams and economic development folks and see how I can complement their efforts and be part of the team,” Clark noted.

He expressed his positions on these issues:

ON ABORTION

“I am very pro-life. I am a conservative Republican.”

ON BUDGETS

“One thing that I’ve learned as mayor is our budgets are balanced. I want to try to go to Washington and do my best to sell the rest of my colleagues that balancing a budget is a good thing.”

ON HEALTH CARE

“That’s my second major area of emphasis. No. 1 is to make sure our hospitals receive the revenues they need to keep their doors open. Second is to improve access to the facilities we have. Third is the drug problem and the opioid issue. Last but not least is the mental health issue.”

ON IMMIGRATION

“I’m all for legal immigration. I’m a legal immigrant. I came to this country when I was 2 from communist Cuba.”

ON THE SECOND AMENDMENT

“I think it’s a constitutional right. I think all the mass shootings are tragedies. I’d like to study it more to see where the district stands on that. We need to respect life a lot more. There are law-abiding citizens, including me, who own guns and are very careful.”

ON DEFENSE

“The No. 1 role of government is to keep America safe. I think the United States needs to be a leader in defense.”

The GOP primary will be held on Aug. 6. Early voting for the primary begins July 17.

Current U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, recently announced he will retire after his term expires.

The district has not elected a Democrat since Reconstruction.