In the race for state treasurer, a candidate’s prime target for support is the banking giants. Statewide, this year’s race is fairly split between Democrat Ann Richards and Republican Allen Clark. But locally, Clark has overwhelmingly garnered the support of Dallas’ top bankers.
William D. Breedlove of InterFirst Bank, Dallas, and Elvis L. Mason of InterFirst Corporation, the bank’s holding company, both support Clark. Charles Pistor of Re-publicBank, Dallas, and George L. Clark (no relation) of Mercantile National Bank, are also Clark supporters.
Allen Clark’s chief selling point is his strong background in Dallas banking, state government and social services. He made newspaper headlines once by speaking out against an appointee of President Reagan.
Clark has a military background of almost 11 years. He is a graduate of Westpoint and a Vietnam War veteran. He served as a Green Beret for almost a year before he was wounded in combat and lost both legs below the knee. Clark was able to walk without crutches after 12 operations and months of hospital-ization and therapy. While recuperating, he obtained a master’s degree in business/finance from SMU.
In 1970, Clark went to work for H. Ross Perot’s company, EDS, as assistant to the treasurer and as Perot’s personal financial assistant. After five months, he joined RepublicBank of Dallas, where he worked his way up to vice president with experience as a personal-trust portfolio manager.
After RepublicBank, he became the first appointee to Governor Clement’s staff and was a special assistant to the governor for two and a half years, working mostly in management.
But Clark was wooed away from the governor’s staff to become deputy administrator of the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C. He worked under Veterans Administration chief Robert Nimmo for nine and a half days and then quit, charging that Nimmo lacked “heavyweight management background and sensitivity.” To the chagrin of his campaign managers, Clark publicly made his opinion known to President Reagan, calling for the firing of Nimmo. (Nimmo resigned under pressure October 4.)
Since leaving Washington, Clark has worked for TDC Exploration. He was president of three TDC oil companies until he left to devote full time to his candidacy.
Dallas’ banking support is definitely a plus for Clark, but he doesn’t intend to relax his campaigning. Clark entered the race late, after stand-in candidate Millard Neptune withdrew. Clark’s opponent, Ann Richards, had already been campaigning for about six months.
Clark and Richards both lack name recognition. During the final few days before the election, they, no doubt, will be racing around the state trying for as much air time and media exposure as possible. Clark says that he is a professional manager and that, if elected, he will implement a management by objectives program. He says that Richards is a professional politician. Richards says her experience as a Travis County Commissioner makes her the best candidate. Another of Richards’ campaign thrusts is her belief that it’s time to get a woman into state government.
To that, Clark says, “When have we ever had a double-leg amputee in state government? I’m a member of a smaller minority than she is. There aren’t many of us walking around.”