Mike Clark, a popular Democrat activist who was the Democratic nominee against longtime Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. John Rice Carter in 2016 but lost handily, is hoping a second race will be the key to his goal of serving in Congress.
Clark conducted a vigorous and valiant but failed campaign two years ago but was buoyed by the fact that Carter's margin of victory, which was 24,000 votes, was smaller than most people expected.
"My team did a lot to show that Carter is vulnerable," Clark said. Unfortunately one result of that effort is that in 2018 there are three other Democratic candidates vying with Clark for the right to win their party's nomination and take on the 75-year-old Carter.
Also seeking the 31st District Democratic nomination in the March 6, 2018 primary are former Air Force Maj. Mary Jennings Hegar of Round Rock; Christine Eady Mann, a Cedar Park family physician; and former U.S. Army officer and former educator Kent Lester of Cedar Park.
Carter is a Round Rock resident and former Williamson County judge who has been in Congress for 14 years. He is a leading conservative voice in the U.S. House of Representatives and serves as chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Clark, like many of the other Democratic candidates in the race for Congress, believes Carter is failing to communicate with and listen to his constituents.
"People feel out of touch," Clark said. "You may not agree with people, but you need to keep in touch, you need to have discussions. People want to know their representative."
Clark is concerned about a number of issues, but foremost on his list of goals to accomplish if he is elected is improving treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD).
"The current situation is a national disgrace," said Clark, who has a son who is an Iraq combat veteran. "We have people who are committing suicide every day. I want to address the PTSD problems our veterans are having and not just the veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, but all the veterans.”
Clark, a seventh generation Texan, also said he is concerned about the current dysfunction in the nation's capital.
"We are paying these guys a lot of money and they are not getting their work done. I would get fired if I did not get my work done," Clark said. "The self-imposed drama that plays out in Washington tends to turn people off. I know we can do better."
A geospatial engineer who lives in Georgetown with his wife, Robin, Clark has two grown children and three grandchildren.
"When I first started running last time, my wife told me: 'Just don't let it change who you are.' Well, I am still the same person, people who meet me know that I am genuine," Clark said.