Clark declares for state representative in District 58

Clark declares for state representative in District 58

PAWTUCKET - Joseph M. Clark, 29, made his candidacy for state representative in District 58 official last week. Clark, a lifelong resident of Fairlawn, is a graduate of the Community College of Rhode Island and will be continuing his studies at Johnson & Wales University.

"I am running for state representative because I see a need for a new generation of leaders who view ethics as a priority," he said in a news release. "The fiascoes involving ex-Speaker Gordon Fox and 38 Studios have made it clear to me that nothing is more important."

Clark said that he would have worked to support state Sen. James Sheehan's bill to put review of the General Assembly back in the hands of the Ethics Commission.

Clark, who is challenging Democrat Carlos Tobon and independent Jonathan Vallecilla, said he is also running to protect the youth of Pawtucket and Rhode Island.

He has been employed by the Boys & Girls Club of Pawtucket since 2008 and has been a youth baseball and football coach since 1999.

"The youth of Pawtucket have been my life," he said. "I enjoy mentoring and giving back to a community that gave me so much."

Clark said he knows the people of the district and they know him.

"I have lived here my whole life," he said. "I'm around it every single day."

Clark said the General Assembly took a "giant step" forward to protect youth when it passed legislation to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill by mandating the submission of information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

"This gun safety measure is surely a bill I would have supported," he said.

Clark noted the proximity of District 58 to Twin River Casino.

"Pawtucket must have a strong presence as the potential for the decrease in state gambling revenue becomes real and Twin River will be acting to stay above water," he said.

Clark said he would have preferred to wait on paying the 38 Studios bonds in this year's budget to let pending lawsuits have a chance to play out. He said he supports the elimination of the master lever and the increase in the minimum wage from $8 to $9.

"There are so many issues that the General Assembly has to deal with in addition to the ones that I have already mentioned," he said. "We need to work on jobs and continue the effort to give our kids the best education we can. I am excited at the possibility of representing my neighborhood as the issues of the day unfold."

Clark said he will "conduct a vigorous door-to-door campaign and ask the residents of the district for their vote face to face."

"It's time for my generation to step up and do the tough work that these trying times present," he said. "I humbly ask the residents of District 58 to consider my candidacy, and I pledge to them a state representative whose only special interest will be them."

Clark is supported by District 6 City Councilor Tim Rudd and current District 58 State Rep. Bill San Bento.

He was endorsed by the state representative committee.