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|Opponent(s):|| Mike Hubbard (R)|
Carolyn Ellis (D)
|Born:|| 18 April 1981|
Background and experienceEdit
Born in Slidell, Louisiana in 1981, Clark is the eldest of five sons of Dick and Carolyn Clark. While growing up, Dick was active in the First Baptist Church of Slidell and the youth soccer program (as a player and referee). He was also active in Boy Scouting, earning the Eagle Scout award while a member of Boy Scout Troop 326. In 1996 the Clark family moved to Hoover, Alabama.
While in Hoover, Clark attended Hoover High School and continued to referee soccer as a member of the GBSOA. Clark was a founding member of the Jefferson County Teen Court program. In 1997, he co-founded OnTarget Technologies with high school classmate Ryan Duffner. Clark's involvement in the company ceased in 1999, when he moved to Auburn to attend Auburn University.
His first job in Auburn was teaching beginner-level violin to children and the occasional adult (1999–2002) both in the now-defunct Crossroads Music in downtown Auburn and in private homes. He joined Lakeview Baptist Church soon after taking up residence in Auburn.
In December 2004, Clark graduated from Auburn University with a B.A. in English (concentration in Technical and Professional Communication) and a minor in Philosophy. He is currently employed by a private economics research institute in Auburn, where he is a librarian, archivist, and editor.
Clark has been politically active as a libertarian, serving on the Libertarian Party of Alabama's Executive Committee as Auburn District Chairman (2002–2004; 2005–2006), At-Large Representative (2004–2005), and Chairman (2006–Present).
In 2002, he ran for Alabama Public Service Commission, Place 1, garnering 36,639 votes in a three-way race. During that time he was also part of the John Sophocleus gubernatorial campaign staff. Clark was President of the Auburn University Libertarians from 2001–2004.
Principle: Voters should be free to vote for the best possible candidates for public office.
Position: Alabama's ballot access requirements are among the strictest in the nation. The high expense and difficulty of attaining ballot access results in fewer candidates for each position, and fewer choices for voters. Because government properly derives its power from the consent of the governed, politicians should not insulate themselves politically via restrictive ballot access standards.
Decreasing the expense of running for public office will also decrease the influence of special interests on politicians generally, since candidates will not be forced to lobby such interests for large, early donations just to insure a viable campaign. "Major" party, "minor" party, and independent candidates should be treated uniformly with regards to ballot access.
Principle: The state constitution should be judged on a practical basis, not an aesthetic one.
Position: The Alabama Constitution of 1901 is a popular target of ridicule among self-avowed "progressives" and some others at this time. The complaints against the compact range from those decrying racist language, to those attacking budgetary earmarking, to those expressing embarrassment about its length or number of amendments.
Any racist language that exists in the document, while legally moot due to federal judicial precedents, should be removed to insure that citizens of all backgrounds enjoy equal protection under the law. The least expensive, and most expedient manner by which to accomplish this is constitutional amendment. Simply-worded amendments which would solely replace the offensive language should be offered for the approval of Alabama voters.
Budgetary earmarking is resented by many lawmakers because it represents a limit on their discretionary spending. Earmarking should be seen as a blessing for the Alabama taxpayer, since it promotes steady government operation, and acts as an obstacle to government expansion and the subsequent tax increases that must inevitably follow.
The complaints about the length of the constitution are without merit. First, many such complaints use the Federal constitution for comparison. Unfortunately, those that make this comparison fail to consider the sizes of the respective bodies of statutory law relative to the two constitutions. Second, there is no guarantee that a new constitution would not be heavily amended. The state of Louisiana adopted a new constitution in 1974, and it is currently being amended at a rate comparable to Alabama's. Finally, the state's voters and politicians must consider the costs of testing a new constitution in the courts, which will be both money- and time-intensive for the state.
Principle: The only reliable way to encourage economic growth is minimizing the government's interference in the marketplace.
Position: Economic development is fostered by low, uniform taxation and the minimum amount of regulatory interference. Businesses will come to Alabama if this state is seen as a relatively free market (compared to other states in the region/country). Investors and business managers like to know what to expect, and a steady, low-intervention regulatory environment promotes stability and minimizes risk and uncertainty.
It is also important to note that high levels of regulation disproportionately discourage small business development by increasing the "cost of entry" into the marketplace. Regional economic development is greatly affected by the speed at which innovations can be brought to the market compared to the competition in other regions. Such innovations may be new products, new services, new business models, etc.
It is only in a competitive, free market that employment, productivity, and standards of living all tend to rise in a steady, reliable manner. It is the state government's duty to protect this fount of future prosperity for all Alabamians.
Principle: Parents should be regarded as the legitimate, natural decision-makers regarding the education of their children.
Position: Because Alabama boasts a diverse population within its borders, curriculum choices, school hours of operation, and school-funded extracurricular activities, as well as other administrative decisions, ought to be made at the local level. More importantly, parents should have the absolute right to withhold consent for their child's participation in any school program that they, the parents, deem inappropriate or offensive.
Because of the diverse needs of Alabama's student population, public education curricula must be carefully selected to present pertinent information in a manner that does not attempt to force the adoption of a particular world-view. Schools should promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills rather than simple memorization. The present debate between Intelligent Design and Evolution proponents is an example of a dispute which need not be a source of public policy contention. Teachers should provide comparative data on various schools of thought, with priority being assigned to those views about which students will be expected to be knowledgeable in future educational pursuits. Parents should then advise their children as they see fit.
The state should absolutely insure the right of parents to home-school, which includes the right to make curriculum choices and to tailor standards of annual achievement/advancement to each student's needs as assessed by the parents. The right to home-school should not be limited by any regulations requiring such families to enroll in third-party oversight programs such as those now often provided by private schools. Because the current state tax system requires all citizens to fund the public education system, a school voucher program should be created to allow parents to allocate a significant portion of their children's "share" of the education funding to alternative solutions to include, but not be limited to:
- Private/parochial school tuition, transportation expenses, and textbook costs;
- Home-school textbook costs, supplemental tutoring fees, and supplies costs
The voucher program is suggested not as a permanent program, but as an interim measure to be followed by tax reductions and a transition to education privatization measures.
Principle: Property owners should be secure in their holdings.
Position: While the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution allows for Eminent Domain takings, it specifically states, "nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."
The phrase "public use" has been imbued with a non-intuitive meaning as of late, with expansion of particular governmental bodies' revenue streams in some cases being equated to "public use." The founders clearly did not intend for the phrase to take on such a broad meaning that so weakens the hold of owners on their property.
"Just compensation" is another phrase that has been purposefully misinterpreted, with many now declaring that it is synonymous with "Fair Market Value" (FMV). This is clearly not accurate, since any owner who was willing to take FMV for their house would have already sold or attempted to sell the property for the liquidity. Since the owner still holds the land, however, one can presume that it is worth more to the owner than the FMV for which he could exchange it. Instead of FMV, government entities using Eminent Domain to acquire a property should calculate the just level of compensation based on replacement costs.
Lawmakers in Alabama should support an amendment to the state constitution to both restrict use of Eminent Domain to cases of clearly defined public use and to make it clear that "just compensation" is achieved only through offering property owners full reimbursement for the costs of replacing the land and structures at issue.
Principle: All citizens should be able to allocate their assets as they see fit, even if the chosen methods seem foolish or irresponsible to most other citizens.
Position: Gambling between adults is not properly a crime because gambling does not entail anything more than a voluntary contract between two or more consenting parties. Gambling prohibition only causes greater harm, not only due to the inability of courts to act as arbiter for disputes regarding such contracts, but because prohibition of a popular activity inevitably creates an incentive for greater corruption among those public officials enforcing such a ban.
Gambling should be legal on private property, with all good-faith contracts being enforced uniformly. Equally important, the state should have no programs—such as a lottery—that use even nominally public money to promote gambling, since many taxpayers are morally opposed to gambling and therefore ought not be forced to support it through their taxes.
Principle: All citizens have a basic right to defend their family, home, and person against aggression.
Position: Because defense against aggressors is a natural right, the American founders canonized in the second amendment to the federal constitution the right of a free people to keep and bear arms. For the same reason, the right to arms is affirmed in the Alabama constitution. The state should protect this constitutionally enumerated right by insuring a legal environment in which law-abiding adults may own firearms; may possess arms on their persons at home and in public; may buy, sell, or gift arms; and may freely purchase and store ammunition and home reloading materials. Libertarians firmly believe that a vigilant and prepared citizenry is the best deterrent against both property crimes and crimes of violence.
Law Enforcement/Corrections ReformEdit
Principle: The criminal justice system should be structured to protect the basic rights of Alabamians—life, liberty, and property.
Position: As the Alabama constitution states, "[t]he sole object and only legitimate end of government is to protect the citizen in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property, and when the government assumes other functions, it is usurpation and oppression." To this end, state law enforcement resources should be allocated to the investigation and resolution of property crimes and crimes of violence. Criminal justice system funding should be limited to only those programs which are explicitly designed to apprehend and punish such perpetrators and to secure restitution for victims.
Subjects convicted of non-violent crimes such as those relating to illicit or illegal drugs, prostitution, or gambling should not be allowed to drain corrections resources more appropriately used to punish criminals that violate the human rights and property rights of other citizens. Since the corrections system in Alabama currently dedicates a significant portion of its resources to the handling of non-violent offenders, this reform measure would greatly alleviate the prison overcrowding issue facing the state.
Principle: All citizens should be equal under the law, including the right to enter into a contract with another.
Position: "Marriage" means different things to different people. For most Alabamians, marriage is a religious covenant that is accompanied by certain contractual obligations. Obviously, the state has no religious authority. The state does, however, have authority over contractual disputes. The term "marriage" should not be used for legal purposes to define a particular type of contract. Any adult should be free to contract freely with any other, and no citizen should be forced to recognize the religious convictions of any other.
Churches, other private organizations, or individuals should assign the title "marriage" to particular partnerships as they see fit. In this manner, citizens can be free to recognize or not recognize any religious sacraments or cultural customs that they choose. In addition, no individual would in that system be forced to support through taxes policies that contradict his or her own religious/moral convictions.
Principle: Citizens have the right to allocate their personal assets in the manner that they deem best.
Position: Excessive taxation has long been despised by the citizens of this country and this state. The very independence of this nation is the result of property owners rejecting illegitimate taxation. As this nation's prosperity relative to other nations demonstrates, low taxes engender technological advances, international competitiveness, and a rising standard of living.
The state's role should be to protect private property, not to confiscate it. The state income tax should be abolished because it creates a disincentive to increase personal productivity. The tax burden should be greatly reduced across the board to eliminate the multiple levels of redundant taxes that presently exist. All "sin" taxes should be abolished. Additionally, Libertarians champion user fees instead of taxation because such fees encourage more responsible allocation of state resources.
- Committee to Elect Dick Clark
- 816 Tullahoma Drive
- Auburn, AL 36830
- CitizenClark.com - Official campaign website