Couple could make history if elected

Published 4:54 pm Tuesday, April 18, 2023

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Del. Clinton L. Jenkins and wife, Suffolk School Board member Karen Jenkins, could mark a place in the state’s history this year, if both win their races for seats in the Virginia General Assembly.

The couple, if elected, would become the first married couple to serve in the state legislature at the same time.

Clinton Jenkins is currently the lone Democrat seeking the newly created 17th Senatorial District seat, while his wife is vying for the 89th District seat in the House of Delegates.

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“If Karen Jenkins becomes the delegate-elect from new HD 89 and Clint Jenkins becomes the senator-elect from new SD 17, they will be the first husband and wife to serve contemporaneously as elected legislators in Virginia history,” Dr. William F. “Fergie” Reid wrote in a 90 for 90 social media post. This news was then shared last week by the Virginia Black News.

Clinton Jenkins said that over their 34 years of marriage, they have been blessed with the opportunity to serve together and assist others.

“We mirror, complement and enhance each other’s gifts and talents,” he said. “We have always been active in our church and community.” 

He said they both have had extensive work in public service through the years, noting their service to church, Scouts and the school system. 

Clinton Jenkins went on to share how Karen Jenkins both “sang, directed choirs, and played instruments at various churches” while also singing with choirs that provided background vocals for artists such as Yolanda Adams and Richard Smallwood. At the same time, he worked in church administration while “conducting workshops, teaching bible studies and Sunday school.”

Clinton Jenkins said both have worked in the Parent Teacher Association with the schools, with Karen Jenkins soon leaving a career in banking to work in the school system.

This then led to seek and win a seat on the Suffolk School Board representing the Cypress Borough. 

But he said neither he nor his wife had thought of serving “as it relates to history.”

“A lot of people, family, teachers and friends, invested in our lives and have provided us this opportunity, he said. “We have dedicated our lives to uplifting and enhancing people’s lives.” 

But he said the couple knows there is a lot of work they believe needs to be done in Richmond.

“We know all the good we can achieve by working together for the people of Virginia from protecting voting rights, reproductive freedoms, to standing up for public education and ensuring that hard-working families can afford to live and thrive in our commonwealth,” Clinton Jenkins said.

In addition to currently serving as delegate from the 76th House District, he said he has been active in the civic community and is employed as a real estate subcontracts administrator. He also is a member of the Prince Hall Masons. He noted that his wife, Karen, is a member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., in addition to serving on the Suffolk School Board.