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The Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series

Speakers
Photo of Robert G. Clark

October 26, 2000     Video

Robert George Clark, Speaker Pro Tempore of the Mississippi House of Representatives, is serving his ninth straight term in the House. First elected in 1967, he is presently the longest serving member in continuous House service. Clark, who has always had a primary interest in education initially sought election with the hopes of providing adequate education for students in the rural hamlets of Mississippi. He was the first black elected to the state legislative body since the Reconstruction era. In January 1992 he was elected as Speaker Pro Tempore an office established in 1987 by House members. He was re-elected to this position at the start of the 1996 session and again re-elected at the start of the 2000 session.

Clark, a native of Holmes County, who resides in the Ebenezer Community, represents House District 47. Additionally, he, an avid church member since early childhood, is also a Baptist minister. Formerly a classroom teacher, coach and principal, Clark has an undergraduate degree from Jackson State University and a Master's Degree in Administration and Educational Services from Michigan State University. Additional studies include Michigan State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Florida A & M University and Western Michigan University. In 1979 he was a teaching fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He is particularly proud of the passage of the Education Enhancement Act. His monumental role in the passage of this Act provided Mississippi's schools with the funds to repair schools in numerous school districts across the state. Because of this Act, dangerously outdated school buildings were able to get new roofs, buses with more than 200,000 miles on the odometer were discarded, and fifteen-year-old well-worn and academically obsolete textbooks were replaced with more modern ones.

Additionally, he served as Chairman of the Howe Ethics Committee arid Vice Chairman of the Apportionment and Elections Committee. As Speaker Pro Tempore, he serves as Chairman of the House Management Committee, which oversees internal business affairs, and personnel of the Mississippi Home of Representatives. He is also the senior ranking member of the Mississippi's Legislative Black Caucus.

Clark is a very active member of the legendary Freedom Democratic Party of Holmes County Mississippi. Presently it is the only fully FDP group which was born during the turbulent era of the sixties civil rights movement. In fact it still exercises its political strength to right racial wrongs and injustices.

He is married to the former Jo Ann Ross and they have a daughter, LaLeche and two sons, Robert George III and Bryant Wandrick.