I hope that everyone had a wonderful July 4th holiday. I cannot believe how quickly time has passed. I received many e-mails with best wishes for a happy summer, and just to say “hello.” Thank you for reaching out. I truly appreciate hearing from you. For today’s post, I am pleased to share information about The Honorable Yvette Clarke, one of Brooklyn’s favorite daughters.
Many residents of Brooklyn’s new Ninth Congressional District were justly proud when Clarke was elected to be their Congresswoman in November 2006. The areas that fall under her careful stewardship include Brownsville, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Flatbush, Gerritsen Beach, Madison, Midwood, Ocean Hill, communities within Park Slope and Flatlands, Prospect Heights, Sheepshead Bay, Windsor Terrace and Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, which is where I live.
I am equally excited that Congresswoman Clarke’s office is within walking distance from my apartment. There is great satisfaction in knowing that my Representative is so accessible.
Prior to her election as Congresswoman, Clarke served on the New York City Council where she represented Brooklyn’s 40th District. She has the distinction of succeeding her pioneering mother and former City Council Member Dr. Una S.T. Clarke, making them the first mother-daughter succession in the history of the Council.
As Brooklyn’s Representative for the Ninth Congressional District, Congresswoman Clarke stands by her commitment to the legacy of excellence set forth by the Honorable Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman and the first Caribbean-American elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. Congresswoman Chisholm would become the first woman of African-American and Caribbean descent to run for President as a major-party candidate.
Like Congresswoman Chisholm, Clarke is an unwavering champion for the people of her native Brooklyn. While she presently holds the title of legislator, Clarke has effectively used her experiences as an activist and community organizer to become an effective leader and tireless advocate on issues of paramount importance to the people of Brooklyn; particularly jobs, immigration reform, education and housing. These are indeed weighty issues for they affect our nation. Today, I will focus on Clarke’s recent movement in the area of job creation and her fight for an increase in the minimum wage. I will share additional information with you regarding her advocacy for immigration reform, education and housing in future posts.
On Thursday, July 10, 2014, Congresswoman Clarke released a statement on the passage of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 – H.R. 803. The bill passed by 415 to 6.
“The people themselves have always been our most important resource. To remain competitive in the Twenty-First Century in an economy that includes every nation in the world, we must support people in the development of their individual capacities.” Congresswoman Clarke goes further to say “I believe that the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act will allow more people to access training programs to develop the skills our economy needs.”
Two weeks ago, just before the July 4th holiday, Congresswoman Clark released a statement on the June Jobs Report, which indicated the long-term unemployment rate has declined to 2.0 percent, as more companies are hiring workers who had been unable to find a job for more than six months. “This report demonstrates that our economy is rebounding. Small business lead the way in creating 117,000 jobs last month and our economy has continued to recover from the economic crisis under the leadership of President Obama.” Congresswoman Clarke also uses this upward movement to make the case for supporting an increase in the hourly wage. “I’d also urge my colleges in the House of Representatives to allow for a vote on increasing the minimum wage. There are millions of workers with full-time employment whose wages are insufficient to support their families. An increase to $10.10 an hour would affirm the dignity of work, and allow millions of Americans to escape poverty.”
In early March, Congresswoman Clarke lobbied for a vote on unemployment benefits for Veterans. This request was based on a report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities which determined that 200,00 veterans of the armed forces have already lost benefits this year. This request was submitted to Speaker of the House John Boehner in a letter signed by 161 members of Congress. In Clarke’s words, “the failure to extend unemployment benefits has been inexcusable. The women and men of our armed forces who sacrified for us, their follow citizens and for their nation, deserve better from their representatives in Washington, D.C. The continued refusal of Republic leaders to schedule a vote on this matter demonstrates the intention to avoid the issue. The soldiers who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan, and cannot find jobs, cannot avoid the issue and their obligations to their families. We have a responsibility to act.”
I would like to close today’s post with a video featuring Congresswoman Clarke’s plea for the passage of a Jobs Bill. For me, this is a stark reminder of why we need a dynamic leader, such as our esteemed Congresswoman, advocating on our behalf.
We are all in this together! Continue to be inspired. Also, do not be afraid to add your voice to the many issues that challenge us in today’s economy.
Congresswoman Yvette Clarke – Clarke.house.gov
Wikipedia – Congresswoman Yvette Clarke – en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yvette_Clarke