David Clark loves his country. No one can question this.
When I was in my first term, I served with David Clark’s brother, and now US Senatorial Candidate, Josh. Josh Clark decided to retire at the end of that term which set up a primary to succeed him. A gentleman named Michael Brown had won the nomination to replace Josh and then passed away suddenly before the general election. This left the Georgia Republican Party Executive Committee with the authority to replace Brown on the ballot. In an effort to earn enough supporters to convince the committee to select him, I got my first call from David Clark, and it went something like this:
Me: How would you describe your political philosophy?
Clark: I just love America.
That is a 100% true story. No pretense, no pandering, just patriotism.
David, of course, went on to get the nod from the committee and he was elected without opposition in 2014.
Rep. Clark is a graduate of US Army Ranger School. He has served as a reservist and has missed a few legislative days here and there over the years due to military duty. Prior to last year’s special session for redistricting that duty did not interfere with his ability to get the job as a legislator done. And then Rep Clark announced his legislative retirement and didn’t show up for a single day of the entire special session.
That tendency toward absenteeism escalated during this legislative session, as Rep Clark has not been present in the House Chamber since February 1st, the 9th legislative day. While he made headlines for showing up to work after testing positive for COVID earlier this year, he hasn’t really been seen since. As I write this, the legislature has just completed day 33 which means that Rep Clark has missed 37 of the previous 46 legislative days, 80%. And he has told people to not expect him to return until sometime in May; well after the session ends on Sine Die which will drive that percentage even higher.
We don’t really know why Rep. Clark was absent during the entire special session last year, except that he had announced he was not going to seek reelection. Only after the maps were redrawn and put into place for this year did he change his mind and decide to run for reelection again.
We do know why Rep Clark has missed so much time in 2022, though, and that’s because he has voluntarily decided to advance his military career by attending Army Special Forces Training. This patriot is working on becoming a Green Beret.
There is honor in wanting to serve your country and your state, but sometimes you have to choose what is best for both. And right now David Clark has chosen, voluntarily, to serve his country over his state. I am not mad about that. He is a patriot whose overriding political philosophy is that he loves America. That’s kinda bad-ass. The problem is that he has not been able to do the work of a legislator while in training. And once he is a Green Beret, he isn’t going to be able to choose when and where he goes and for how long Uncle Sam will send him there.
The way global events are unfolding, he could get called to active duty at any moment.
I do not want to diminish his military service in any way. I am grateful for it. I pray for his safety and return to his family. I would rather lift him up as someone willing to make that sacrifice for all of us and for the protection of our collective liberty. And if that is what he wants to do, then we should collectively express our gratitude and support him in that decision.
However, right now a House District is going unrepresented for over an entire legislative session’s worth of days before all is said and done. And we do not have a crystal ball to tell how many more days he would be absent in the future. It is time for David Clark to decide how he wants to serve, his country, or his state. He has proven that he is incapable of doing both jobs simultaneously, and the people of his House District have been left behind as a result. No one is going to be disappointed by which decision he makes, but there will be plenty of injustice if he tries to do both.