“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.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.