Hansen Clarke was elected to represent the 13th Congressional District of the United States House of Representatives in November 2010 and served until January 3, 2013. Clarke served on the House Committee on Homeland Security and the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. He was also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.
Born and raised in the 13th Congressional District, Clarke spent most of his life on the lower east side of Detroit. As the son of an African-American mother and Indian father, he was exposed to diverse experiences and ways of thinking. Clarke’s mother raised him as a single parent after his father died when he was eight years old.
Recognizing that her son had a gift for the arts, Thelma Clarke secured private lessons for him at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Based on his artistic talent, Clarke received a scholarship from Cornell University. After his mother died during his freshman year, his studies suffered, and he lost his scholarship. With the encouragement of family, friends, and Professor Zevi Blum, Clarke returned to Cornell, graduating with a degree in fine arts. During his time at Cornell, he was elected to the student seat on the University Board of Trustees. As a student trustee, Congressman Clarke worked to ensure that Cornell provided financial aid to students whose families needed assistance. He later earned his law degree from Georgetown Law School. Before being elected to a national seat, he was elected three times to the Michigan House of Representatives and twice to the Michigan Senate.