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No Titles for Rags-to-Representative Clarke

Tom Williams/Roll Call

“I want to change that whole perception. Who cares what that person’s title is? That person works for the taxpayer,” he said. “I wanted to have less of a hierarchy and more of a team approach, and I thought departing from these unnecessarily hierarchical titles would be one way to do it.”

His unique background gives Clarke a kind of new-age populism that he said connects the laid-off auto executive in upscale Grosse Pointe, Mich., to the man digging in a Dumpster in Clarke’s old neighborhood.

“It shows me this one thing,” he said, leaning forward intently in his chair. “Everybody’s the same. We all want the same thing. We want those values that are in our preamble to the Declaration of Independence, those guarantees to the life, the liberty, the pursuit of happiness.”

Correction: March 14, 2011

The article misstated the name of Rep. Hansen Clarke’s (D-Mich.) wife. Her name is Choi Palms-Cohen.

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