KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL)- A former local mayor will soon officially throw his hat into the race for congress just days after Rep. Phil Roe announced his retirement.
“I’m all in. I’m decided,” said John Clark, the former Mayor of Kingsport, told News Channel 11’s Josh Smith he will formally launch his campaign Tuesday, adding he would have done so even if Roe decided to run for a seventh term.
“I was going to move forward regardless,” Clark said. “But as it turns out Congressman Roe made it his announcement and the timing couldn’t be better.”
Clark said in an interview Monday if elected he would work to improve access to healthcare and attract more jobs across the first district.
John Clark was born in Cuba and fled Castro when he was just 2-years-old, officially become a United States citizen when he was 12.
While Clark was mayor of Kingsport, he championed the “One Kingsport” growth initiative that included a property tax increase and a new tax collection fee. He called “One Kingsport” a success because he says it led to overall city growth. “For me it worked very effectively because at the end of the day we were able to attract and retain new people which was my ultimate objective,” he said.
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Clark said he’s running for two primary reasons. “One is improving the quality of life for people. The second is to improve a prosperous future for our region,” he said. “I really believe we can do more, we can do better, when it comes to utilizing this Congressional office to help compliment the efforts of so many people who are doing great things to bring good high paying jobs to the people of this area.”
We asked Clark if he supports President Trump. He said, while their personal styles differ, the President will have his support if both of them win in November.
“President Trump and I have a different management style, a different communication style, and a different communication style. But I do support his economic policies as evidenced by how well our country is doing.”
Clark said he will officially register as a candidate on Tuesday.
The deadline for candidates to qualify for the US House race in Tennessee is April 2. The Tennessee Democratic and Republican primaries are on August 6.
MORE: Congressman Phil Roe won’t seek seventh term