The Smith County Republican Women’s Club’s February program was a candidate’s debate. Candidates running for the Family Law Court included incumbent Judge Carole Clark and John Jarvis.
Roy Maynard of the Tyler Morning Telegraph was the moderator. Mr. Maynard asked each candidate a series of questions; both candidates responded with their thoughts, but with one difference. In each response, Mr. Jarvis made repeated references to his young son. He did this so often that I became puzzled as to why.
In his closing remarks, Mr. Jarvis stated he was better qualified to be the family judge because he had a son and Judge Clark has no children. The audience appeared stunned. After a pause Mr. Jarvis concluded. Judge Clark then summarized her position on the issues. She did not respond to Mr. Jarvis’ claim that his son made him the better qualified candidate.
Over the years, Judge Clark has proven her qualifications defending children. My support for this office remains with Judge Clark.
Let me begin by saying that my husband, Michael, and I consider Judge Carole and A.D. Clark among our dearest friends.
Carole and A.D. have been the very definition of “loving your neighbor.” As recently as this past September, when we traveled to Colorado to send our second son off to college, and were in desperate need of someone to stay with our three remaining teenagers at home, it took only one phone call. Judge Carole Clark came and wrangled our three teens (and two dogs) for the weekend.
For this reason, we were taken aback at statements made during a recent debate by Mr. John Jarvis, her opponent in the current election, that because she is childless, she is less qualified than he (who has a son) to be “Family Court” (3215st District Court) judge.
As a mother, obstetrician, and someone who also struggled with infertility, I find this statement offensive and uninformed. Anyone who knows Carole Clark knows she loves children. She has been a dedicated public servant as judge of the Family Court for 15 years. She has created programs to hold individuals legally accountable for child support delinquency, which earned her national recognition. She has promoted foster care and adoption. How can anyone question her devotion to children and their welfare?
We don’t know Mr. Jarvis, but are glad he has been blessed with a child. He needs to understand that not everyone is childless by choice. He should also keep in mind that the ability to procreate alone does not qualify one for much of anything, not even being a good parent. This is evidenced by the fact that the very court office he is seeking hears hundreds of cases a year of children with parents who are ill prepared, unfit, or outright abusive.
In addition, Mr. Jarvis would do well not to encourage discrimination against individuals who don’t have children or to imply that childless status somehow disqualifies them from performing certain careers. The fact that Judge Carole Clark remains passionate after so many years on the bench, listening to the difficult circumstances and deplorable conditions some of our Smith County children find themselves in, is made all the more remarkable precisely because she doesn’t have children of her own.
We cannot give any greater testament than to say we do and have trusted her to care for the very people we love and cherish most, our children.
Drs. Michael and
WAR ON POVERTY
Joe Forgy’s comments about the “War on Poverty” were spot on, especially the remark, “Make education available.” One strategy overlooked in our education systems is the school library regarding standards set forth by the Texas State Library Archives and the American Library Association. Research studies show that collections managed and maintained by the standards consistently, effectively and efficiently improve student performance.
“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” -- Nelson Mandela
Library Media Specialist
John Tyler High School