“Many of our adults are at a fourth grade level,” he said. “If we can get them up to a ninth grade level — you can do that in a matter of months — they’ll be trained and eligible to be hired into these jobs.”
Clarke said the Department of Labor keeps track of foreign workers who are recruited to work for major industries around the nation.
He is not opposed to immigration but he is trying to target jobs openings available right now. He also said there are some 12,000 to 13,000 of these jobs every year, and described them as “low-hanging fruit” that we can focus on.
Clarke believes one way to best create new jobs is to provide financing to small businesses. He would modify certain banking regulations to accomplish that.
He would also promote a secondary market for federally guaranteed loans to be loaned by community banks. That, he said, would have two benefits: It would provide capital to small businesses ready to hire people, and it would also support community banks, which are also small businesses.
Education is also important to Clarke. He said improving education is one practical way to create jobs. As a US representative, he would work to align national goals with what is needed in the neighborhood.
“I would support keeping our school buildings open on the weekends, in the evenings and year-round,” he said, adding that he believes the school day and the school year should be longer.
Having schools open beyond regular hours would also reduce youth crime by giving kids who would otherwise have nothing to do a place to go, where they could participate in various activities, school related or otherwise. It would also stabilize neighborhoods, he noted.
The school buildings could also be used for adult education classes. Clarke, a product of adult education, said he understands the value of that option.
“That school building could be a center to train every member of the family,” he said.
Another way to help get families out of these economic doldrums, according to Clarke, is to promote policies that will help them save their most valuable assets — their homes.
He believes we must keep from increasing costs — and if possible decrease them — to families and businesses.
“One major area is taxes,” he said. “In order to make sure we don’t have taxes unduly high, we’ve got to right-size government, including our massive entitlement programs.”
Clarke said we pay some important taxes to private industry, not the government. Those are insurance premiums. As a representative, he would ask Washington to reform the rating of property casualty insurance, which involves home, auto and commercial business coverage.
It also includes medical liability insurance, which Clarke said is still too high for physicians who want to practice in the inner city.
He would help make the insurance market more competitive, which, he contends, would reduce premiums for most people, especially those who work in Detroit and the nearby suburbs who have good driving records, don’t file claims, and yet are paying high rates.
Clarke said the insurance industry is exempted from federal anti-trust laws.
“So essentially, insurance companies can legally do what other industries cannot do,” he said. “They can fix prices. What that means is you can have several insurance agencies or companies offer insurance here in metro Detroit, and they all could be high and unaffordable.”
Clarke would also advocate for the community by applying his vehicle budget toward the purchase of vans for seniors. He said they could be picked up at their buildings and taken to supermarkets where they could purchase healthy food.
“We can probably do that at least once or twice a month on a rotation basis,” he said.
As to what he would drive, Clarke echoed Gov. Engler’s 1990 campaign pledge to drive his own car, meaning he would continue to drive his Ford Taurus.
Clarke’s website is www.hansenclarkeforcongress.com
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