First Judicial District Attorney General Tony Clark officially announced his bid for re-election in a news release this week.
Clark has held the position for eight years and will seek his second term in the May Republican primary. The district includes Carter, Johnson, Washington, and Unicoi counties. Clark has served the district as an assistant district attorney general for 12 years and as the elected district attorney general for the last eight years.
“When first elected in 2006, I made a promise to the citizens to base my decisions on what is right, not what is popular. I have fulfilled that promise,” Clark said. “The job of district attorney general always involves controversial cases,” and Clark said he is confident that he has made the right decisions in those cases.
Clark doesn’t have a free ride through the May primary or the August general election. Local attorney Jerome Cochran is challenging Clark in the primary and Independent candidate Dan Smith will face the winner of that in August.
Clark said he has the “the proven ability to carry out the many duties of the district attorney general, and (I’m) the most experienced and qualified candidate for the position.”
Over the last eight years, Clark has not only handled administrative duties of his office, but also handles cases in the courtroom.
“I’ve learned a lot while serving as a prosecutor, and I’ve put this knowledge to use seeking justice for the citizens of the district,” he said.
Clark said he’s issued a challenge to Cochran to debate before the May primary because he “believes the public deserves to hear from both candidates on the issues related to the office of district attorney general.”
Clark said his job also involves legislative duties in Nashville where he has been appointed to several committees, including the Legislative Committee, Child Support Committee, Best Practices Committee and National District Attorneys’ Association, and he is the only district attorney in Tennessee presently appointed to serve on the Bench/Bar Committee. Clark said his work in Nashville has helped to secure for the district two of only eight assistant district attorney positions available statewide during his term.
One thing Clark is particularly proud of during his tenure is the establishment of an attorney position to prosecute cases from Johnson City in the U.S. Federal Court.
“This is the only program of its kind in the country,” Clark said. It has played a crucial role in the successful convictions and tougher sentencing of numerous serious criminals in Johnson City.
The district attorney general is also responsible for the administration of the Child Support Division, which collected $13.6 million in the last fiscal year.
“With the invaluable assistance of only two attorneys and 14 support personnel, the Child Support Division works diligently to serve the children of the district,” he said.
“I have dedicated 20 years of service as a prosecutor to the citizens of the First Judicial District. I am not a political opportunist. In my career I have only sought one elected position, that of district attorney general. It has been an honor to serve the citizens of the First Judicial District as their district attorney,” he says, “and I hope to continue to serve.”
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