State House District 84 – Nadarius Clark

Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, October 18, 2023

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The Suffolk News-Herald sent the same questions to Mike Dillender and Nadarius Clark. Below is Clark’s response, Click here to read Dillender’s.

Name: Nadarius Clark 

Age: 28 

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Occupation: Mental Health Counselor 

Prior elected offices held: Delegate, House District 79 (2022-2023) 

Can you briefly summarize why you decided to run for the 84th House District? 

Born and raised in Hampton Roads, I’m running for office because we need an advocate for our community who will fight for everyday working families. I believe I have the energy, vision, and experience needed to put people first. I’m not afraid to stand up to the special interests in Richmond and, as a working-class delegate, I understand the economic struggles so many Virginians are going through in a way that uniquely qualifies me to take on the most pressing issues of our Commonwealth.

Who is your political role model? Why? 

As a VUU graduate, I have to acknowledge the significance of Virginia’s election of this nation’s first Black governor, Gov. Douglas Wilder as my role model. Trailblazers like Gov. Wilder were very inspiring to me and particularly during my politically formative years in undergrad, he had a big impact. 

What change, if any, to state law would you like to see in the wake of last year’s overturning of Roe v. Wade? 

As a member of the house of delegates, I was a patron of then State Sen. Jennifer McLellan’s bill to enshrine a woman’s right to choose into Virginia’s constitution. If reelected, I will continue to fight for this critical legislation. After the overturning of Roe v. Wade, we have seen an unprecedented attempt to take Virginia backward on reproductive health care. And as someone with a 100% pro-choice voting record, I will always be an advocate for women’s rights. 

Should school personnel be required to use transgender students’ preferred names, pronouns and/or not reveal their gender identity to their parents? Why or why not? 

My heart breaks for the young people in our Commonwealth and around the country who have been impacted by fundamentally dehumanizing legislation in states like Indiana, Kentucky, Florida and beyond that erase the very real identity of transgender Virginians. In 21st century America, amid pandemics and mass shooter drills, it’s hard enough to be a kid these days. We should not be requiring our public institutions to “out” our students. 

Do you agree with Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s executive order banning “divisive concepts, including Critical Race Theory” from public schools? Why or why not?

What is most concerning to me is the Governor’s attempt to eliminate Juneteenth and the history of Martin Luther King Jr. from our history class curriculum. As a member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus from 2022 to 2023, I know it’s our collective responsibility to fight to preserve our full history and keep Virginia from sliding backward. 

What more can Virginia do to prevent mass shootings? 

Like many Virginians, I am a responsible gun owner who believes in common sense gun safety reforms that prioritize keeping our children safe. I know that we can implement a smart approach to gun safety that doesn’t infringe on our individual rights. 

As a member of the public safety committee in the General Assembly, in the last two years I have studied many pieces of proposed legislation that attempt to take steps forward in addressing our public safety crisis. Among them, I support common sense measures supported by a majority of gun owners, such as an assault weapons ban, state of the art lockboxes for firearms stored in the same home as minors, and universal background checks. This will ensure that firearms do not end up in the hands of dangerous individuals who wish to do harm to the community and prevent the tragedies that we have seen in the past. 

Should all counties have the option of raising their local sales tax rates by 1% by voter referendum to fund school construction projects? Why or why not? 

I believe in fully funding public schools. Schools are a place for children to learn and grow. They also provide benefits for those who aren’t students, foster socialization and citizenship, provide equal access regardless of socioeconomic status or race, offer a range of resources for students and families, including extracurricular activities, social services and counseling, and provide a community gathering place. 

State government has an enormous responsibility to ensure that the state budget continues to prioritize public education funding as a necessary step to keep Virginia’s economy moving forward. I believe that the voters of the 84th district should have the choice to try to address the problem locally, as I continue to fight in Richmond to make sure our public schools are fully funded. 

Should the state get involved in stemming or encouraging the proliferation of solar farms in rural counties? 

As rural communities like Isle of Wight and others across the Commonwealth continue to make the best use of existing developed land, solar farms can create local, good-paying jobs, reduce dependency on fossil fuels, and help farmers diversify revenue sources, just as the leasing of cell towers has. As a delegate, it’s my job to consider those economic impacts as well as the ecological ones. One example of how state involvement could lead to better outcomes would be to consider how the placement of solar farms in previously developed areas could also restore native plants and increase pollinators, helping to combat the long-term effects of agricultural or industrial land use. 

How should retail marijuana sales be implemented, or should the 2021 legalization be overturned? 

While serving at the General Assembly, several bills were proposed to establish a regulated and legal retail market for marijuana sales. Currently, Virginia allows the sale of medical cannabis, home cultivation, and legal possession for adults, but it lacks a law to govern retail sales. I am in favor of plans that would permit the retail sale of recreational cannabis products, with certain restrictions comparable to those in place for tobacco and alcohol sales. 

These restrictions would aim to prevent sales and marketing to minors and would prioritize community safety measures. Furthermore, I believe that any implementation of a retail marketplace for marijuana sales must include measures to address the negative impacts that arrest records and criminal convictions for marijuana-related offenses, which are now legal, have had on individuals. 

Violent crime continues to be a notable problem in Suffolk and Franklin, including a shooting in Franklin on Aug. 9 that took the life of a 10-year-old boy. What will you do as a delegate to address this problem? 

The death of La’Marj Deshawn Holden in Franklin is a devastating tragedy and my prayers remain with his family and the entire city of Franklin as they grieve the loss of their child. Senseless acts of violence like this one have touched countless lives across Hampton Roads and we have a responsibility to act. 

While previously serving as Delegate, I voted to ensure that domestic abusers and dangerous individuals did not have access to guns. And as a member of the Virginia House Public Safety Committee, I have prioritized the training and retention of a strong police force in Hampton Roads. I have also secured funding for our local law enforcement through our state budget and will work with local leaders to ensure they have the necessary resources to keep our communities safe. Increasing public safety in Hampton Roads has been and will remain a priority of mine.