Business owner Michelle “Mimi” Clark was a no-show at recent candidate forums but she is making herself heard loud and clear in calls that refer to her as “the only Democratic candidate” in the non-partisan District 8 race.
“Republican incumbent Pam Speaks has worked against us and our children and has taken school resources from us and put them in the more affluent areas of the county,” Clark says in the message.
“Reject Republican incumbent Pam Speaks and vote for Democrat Michelle Mimi Clark, the only candidate able to fully represent your values on your school board.”
Clark said she is honing in on political parties even though she’s in a nonpartisan race because Republicans and Democrats have different values.
“Democratic values are umbrellas big enough for everybody,” Clark said. “Sometimes Republicans don’t share those values.”
Speaks said Clark is focusing on a non-issue.
“I think (political party) has absolutely nothing to do with any issue,” she said. “I’m running for the education of all children whether they are Democrat, Republican, Moderate, whether they’re white, black or Latino. I’m in the race to represent all children. I have allegiance to children, not political parties.”
Speaks, 62, a retired DeKalb school administrator who lives in Stone Mountain, would not say whether she is a Republican.
“If that truly makes a difference to anyone then they should go to the voter registration department and find out, including my opponent,” she said.
Maxine Daniels, DeKalb’s election supervisor, said no one registers as a member of any political party in the state of Georgia but a person’s voting history is a matter of public record.
Speaks said the question of her political affiliation is not new. It surfaced four years ago when she was first elected to the school board.
“Some people think I have leanings in one direction or the other so they try to label it,” she said. “You need to look at what Pam stands for.”
Speaks said she has no plans to retaliate with automated calls of her own.
District 8, one of two “super” districts that cover half of the county, includes high schools from Dunwoody to Lithonia.
Clark, 45, of Stone Mountain, did not return repeated phone calls placed over three days last week for a CrossRoadsNews article on the District 8 race. She also did not attend a candidate forum co-hosted by the newspaper.
Clark said election season has coincided with the opening of her transportation business, a hectic situation she had not anticipated.
Clark said she thought someone else was going to run against Speaks, but found out 20 minutes before the end of qualifying that Speaks had no challenger.
“I entered the race at 12:00 on May 25,” Clark said.