SE Queens Assemblywoman Barbara Clark dies at 76

By Madina Toure

State Assemblywoman Barbara Clark (D-Queens Village), who represented parts of southeast Queens, died at the age of 76 Monday night, a representative from her district office said. The cause of death was not immediately known.

Clark had been serving the 33rd Assembly District since 1986. The district includes Cambria Heights, St. Alban’s, Queens Village, Hollis and Bellerose.

She played a key role in converting Andrew Jackson HS into four small magnet high schools and served as a primary sponsor of the 1996 New York City Governance Law, which mandated parental involvement in school policy decision-making.

Clark also supported the plaintiff in the Campaign for Fiscal Equity vs. State of New York lawsuit, which resulted in a $5.5 billion increase in funding for city public schools and authored a bill to establish the age of 6 as the statutory age for full-time attendance in school.

In a statement, state Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (D-Bronx) said that over the course of her career, she has written significant legislation that improved the quality of life for thousands of families in her community and throughout the state.

“Assembly member Clark will be remembered by many for her warm spirit and her firm belief that we have a responsibility to defend the well-being of our fellow citizens,” Heastie said.

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights) said they both joined the Assembly at the same time.

“We were both elected to the New York State Assembly 30 years ago and it was an honor to serve alongside her and see firsthand her unwavering commitment to the people of Queens,” Crowley said in a statement. “She will be remembered as a tireless public servant and will be sorely missed by our entire community.

Other borough elected officials echoed similar sentiments.

“Queens has lost a dedicated leader and legislator,” James Sanders (D-South Ozone Park) tweeted.

State Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) tweeted, “#NYS has lost a legend and I’ve lost a great friend!”

City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James also praised the assemblywoman on social media.

Clark is survived by her husband, Thomas Clark, Jr.; four adult children: Jan, Crystal, Thomas III, and Brian; and two granddaughters, Taylor and Lauren.

Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtoure@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4566.