Dr. Jay Clark, Adjunct Professor of Biology at Maryville College, recently launched his election campaign for state representative of the 8th district of Tennessee in the 2018 election. He is currently unopposed running on the Democratic party ticket while the Republican ticket already holds five people jockeying to be the candidate for their party.
Clark held a small meeting in the Center for Campus Ministry at Maryville College on Thursday in which a few students and other supporters came out to meet him and learn his positions on various issues that a voter may deem important.
In regards to healthcare, he supported Insure Tennessee, a bill which would’ve expanded healthcare to several thousand uninsured Tennesseans, which didn’t pass the state legislature. Clark says that healthcare should be a right for all Americans.
In terms of education, he said that he does not believe in school vouchers and isn’t a big fan of charter schools, rather he believes that the money spent on those programs should be put towards improving the lackluster public school system.
Clark, a gun owner himself, claims to believes in ‘common-sense gun laws’ and doesn’t think anyone should be allowed to own an assault weapon–citing the fact that hunters aren’t legally allowed to use them when they hunt anyway.
As a biology professor, Clark is a self-proclaimed big believer in sustainability and environmental protection. He loves the Smoky Mountains and pointed out that they’re one of the most biodiverse locations in the world.
Job growth is another important platform for Clark. He advocates for stronger workforce training for technical jobs and that new jobs should have a sustainability component. He also believes that workers should be paid a livable wage and housing should be affordable for anyone.
Clark wholeheartedly supports the LGBT community and mentioned his numerous friends that belong to that community. He also cited a past incident in which the Blount County commission wrote a formal declaration stating that Blount County didn’t support the Supreme Court’s decision to make same-sex marriage legal in every state and instead begged for God’s forgiveness. Clark, and many others at the time, said he thought this was absurd.
As a Democrat running in a largely Republican state, Clark said he realizes that the race will be an uphill battle, but says the time is right for a change in Blount County. He says he’s thought about this for many months and wouldn’t be running unless he believed he had a real chance to win the election.
Leaving the meeting, people were encouraged to vote both in the primary, which will be held Aug. 2, 2018 and the general election, which took place on Nov. 6, 2018. On his pamphlet he sums up why he believes the things he does about the issues.
“My positions on issues that are the responsibility of our state government reflect my upbringing, experiences, values, principles and my Christian faith,” he said.