Adline C. Clarke is a State Representative in the Alabama House of Representatives. Representative Clarke was elected to fill an unexpired term in the Alabama Legislature on May 21, 2013. Since then, she has been re-elected to two 4-year terms. She also recently helped Alabama become the 49th state to enact an Equal Pay law after she sponsored the legislation. Representative Clarke proudly represents House District 97 in Mobile.
Please explain what you do to others:
In Alabama, state legislators serve 4-year terms, creating and ratifying state laws and regulations. We also approve the state’s General Fund and Education budgets annually. Our work closely mirrors that of members of Congress, only on a smaller, state level. We work in committees and debate and vote on proposed legislation.
Share any relevant education, accolades, experiences related to your success:
As a newspaper reporter, I won local and state Press Association awards. I am a two-time winner of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce’s Eagle Award, presented to small businesses. My most recent honor was being named an “Alabama 2019 Women Who Shape the State” honoree for introducing Alabama’s equal pay legislation, enacted in 2019.
Tell us why you chose your profession, the value it brings to you and/or the community:
I majored in Communication Arts at Spring Hill College, and my concentration was print journalism. I worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for 16 years. I chose the profession because I enjoy interviewing, conducting research, and writing and reporting news. Later, I owned and operated two businesses, including a specialty bookstore. Starting a business from scratch was exciting and fulfilling, truly an invaluable experience.
Are you involved with the community, any nonprofits, etc., and why is that important?
Community service is very important. It allows individuals to use our time, talents and treasures to improve society. For many years, I served on boards of community service organizations. As my parents’ health began to decline, I was unable to serve the community in this capacity as much. These days, as a member of the Alabama Legislature, I am honored to serve constituents in House District 97 and all of the citizens of Alabama.
What is your vision or hope for women in the Mobile and Gulf Coast communities?
I would like to see more women run for elected office at all levels. We certainly need more women in the Alabama Legislature. Of 35 state senators, only four are women. Of 105 state representatives, 18 are women, which is a record for our state. However, I truly believe the Alabama Legislature would be more effective if it reflected the diversity of our state.
Are there any specific policies and/or laws you would like to see changed to advance women?
I hope Congress will pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would add procedural protections to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the Fair Labor Standards Act as part of the effort to address the gender pay gap. Alabama became the 49th state in the nation to pass equal pay legislation, which I introduced in 2019. However, women are still far from receiving equitable pay in the workplace.
What advice or suggestions can you give to women walking the path of empowerment or struggling with self-doubt?
Prepare and believe in yourselves. Find a mentor. Or find a peer with similar aspirations with whom you can share your thoughts and experiences. Encourage one another and keep the faith.
Was there a moment for you that was a game changer and can you tell us about it?
That moment was when I resigned as City Editor of the Mobile Register morning edition (now al.com) and stepped out on faith to become an entrepreneur. Starting a business is exhilarating. It is also risky, stressful at times, and a lot of work. However, owning your own business can also be very rewarding in many ways, if you are willing to make sacrifices during the early years of the business.
How important has education and/or continuing education been to you?
I appreciate the teachers I had at all levels. They were wonderful and inspired me to do my very best. I also value the postsecondary education I received at Spring Hill College, as well as the leadership development training I received in several programs, including Leadership Mobile and Leadership Alabama.
You seem to really love what you do, tell us why:
Throughout my career, my jobs have given me the opportunity to serve people. That is what I really love to do–help others to the best of my ability.
“Prepare and believe in yourselves. Find a mentor. Or find a peer with similar aspirations with whom you can share your thoughts and experiences. Encourage one another and keep the faith.”
How do you think professional environments need to change to support and/or be more welcoming to women?
More companies and employees would benefit from greater flexibility in the workplace–more flexible work hours, workspaces, and career pace.
What/who inspires you?
I’m inspired by any and everyone who is doing good works to improve the quality of life for all people.
How do you take care of yourself everyday so that you stay balanced and centered?
This has been a challenge for me. I have had to learn to include some “me time” in my daily schedule, including fitness and leisure time, to maintain balance in my life.