See the candidates running to replace retiring Alyce Clarke in Jackson House District 69

Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson speaks against passage of the controversial Jackson Capitol Complex Improvement District bill in the House Chamber, Friday, March 31, 2023, at the Capitol in Jackson, Miss. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

For the first time in 38 years, voters in Mississippi House District 69, which includes parts of West Jackson and smaller parts of Clinton and Raymond, will not see Rep. Alyce Clarke, D-Jackson, on their ballots.

Clarke, who became the state's first Black woman legislator in 1985, is retiring, leaving an open race to replace her in the state House of Representatives.

Four candidates have filed to do so. All four are Democrats, meaning the winner of the Aug. 8 primary, or Aug. 29 runoff, will win the seat. Clarke last faced a challenger in 2015, running unopposed in 2019.

See who is running for the Mississippi House from District 69:

Tamarra Grace Butler-Washington

A former Mississippi Senate clerk who has also held leadership positions with the state Department of Health, City of Jackson, Mississippi Health Advocacy Program and American Cancer Society, Tamarra Grace Butler-Washington was the first candidate to file following Clarke's retirement announcement.

Butler-Washington, who has called Clarke a mentor and friend, is a graduate of Alcorn State University and the University of Southern Mississippi, and holds a political management certificate from George Washington University.

According to her campaign announcement, Butler-Washington's key policy positions include ensuring quality and adequate education and healthcare, working to create jobs, supporting worker's rights, promoting voter empowerment and promoting economic development.

Allan Cole

Allan Cole is a former U.S. military paratrooper who works in marketing who returned from California to Mississippi in 2009 in search of his birthparents. Cole said his passion for history, civics, government and business began as a 9-year-old watching the 1976 Democratic National Convention.

Cole lists a number of policy positions, according to his website, including addressing food deserts, funding mental health, increasing the number of minor and urgent care facilities, increasing public safety, establishing a citizen police board and addressing a lack of parental accountability with juvenile crimes. He also seeks to address the chronic absenteeism at Jackson Public Schools and the lack of funding for the Department of Education, among other listed priorities.

Patty Patterson

A longtime community organizer and former candidate for Mayor of Jackson, Patty Patterson is a native of Michigan who graduated from Jackson State University in 1986 and never left, spending much of her time and organizing in West Jackson.

Outside of her activism, Patterson has worked for Jackson Public Schools, the United States Postal Service and the Community Service division of the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office. She has also served on the Jackson Zoo Board of Directors.

Patterson's campaign website does not list policy positions, but during her 2020 run for Mayor she focused on bringing new leadership to the city and addressing violence in its communities.

Iva Steptoe

Ive Steptoe is a Jackson business owner who runs a beauty salon who says state and local government are failing communities in south and west Jackson.

According to her campaign Facebook page, Steptoe is running on a platform of providing funding and resources to reduce crime, community economic development, clean water, education and trade skill programs, adequate and accessible mental health programs and funding and resources for the homeless.

This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: 4 candidates vying for Mississippi House District 69 seat