Congresswoman Yvette Clarke, D-Prospect Heights, has represented the 11th District—now the 9th District—since 2007, but she believes her work to improve district conditions and address issues that hit close to home is far from over.
"I certainly have spent the past 5 and a half years concentrating on building relationships in the District," Clarke told Ditmas Park Patch. "I look forward to really engaging in Washington and in the District on behalf of the people I represent. Pure and simple, it's the reason I'm running for reelection. It's a labor of love for me."
Clarke, who was recently endorsed by President Barack Obama, noted that this campaign has been especially important in publicizing since the election's date was moved to Tuesday, June 26 from its usual September spot.
"I've been a bit dismayed that there wasn't a more active participation of the Board of Elections," Clarke said. "In Brooklyn, just about every [District] has a primary. There are going to be elections in most of Brooklyn tomorrow, and these are competitive races for the most part."
Clarke is involved in one of those competitve races, as Flatbush-born attorney and reverend Sylvia Kinard. Kinard is running on a platform of more visibility and inclusiveness for the communities in the 9th District, but Clarke believes that the District is adequately represented.
"That's not the impression I get when I move around the District," Clarke said. "Just about everywhere when I travel throughough the District, most of people are very aware of the work I'm doing."
Work that, Clarke says, is far from over. "There are a whole host of issues; there are unanimous concerns," she said of the quality of life issues that matter to the people in the District, such as access to health care and one's economic welfare.
"Most of the hospitals are going through major challenges in keep their doors open," she said. "Not only do peolpe rely on hospitals for health care, but many are employed by them."
Education is another area of interest for Clarke, who noted that there has to be a reallocation in resources in communities that have systemically failed in educating children. "The sooner we can get young children, particularly in lower income communities, into early childhood education, the sooner we give them the opportunity to do well," she said.
"I was educated in the public school system, and I know the value of the public school system," she continued. "There was a generation of young people that were very well-educated in the public school system. Somewhere along the line we did not transform the system to meet the needs of the current day society. [Improving conditions such as] these are things I'm working toward."