Legal Counsel and Policy Advisor to Gov. Haley Barbour
The tenacity of Serena Rasberry Clark can not be questioned. The legal counsel and policy advisor to Gov. Haley Barbour refused to give up when she completed graduate school while working full time and rearing her first child. A few years later, she finished law school in the top one-third of her class while supporting her family of three children and driving an hour and a half each way to school, every day for three years.
Her higher education began with the completion of a bachelor’s degree in English from Delta State University where she was a student government cabinet member and an intern to Sen. Trent Lott. Her master’s of liberal studies degree was earned at Millsaps College where she participated in the Millsaps Leadership Seminar in the Humanities. In 2004, she completed her juris doctorate at the Mississippi College School of Law where she was a Herrin Hess Scholar.
“In the Governor’s Office I serve as policy advisor and legislative and agency liaison on technology, communications, energy, gaming, bond, tax and economic development issues,” she explains.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Clark became intensely involved with the Mississippi Wireless Information Network (MSWIN) and continues to serve as the governor’s liaison with the network. It’s a role that has given her a keen sense of professional accomplishment.
“After the hurricane, Gov. Barbour described communication among first responders as equivalent to that of a Civil War general,” she recalls. “Because of this he sought to secure a top-of-the-line communications system for our state. It has been my honor to counsel and advise the governor on this, lobby, receive, coordinate and oversee the execution of the largest FEMA grant in U.S. history and the largest state contract in state history to fund the buildout of the country’s premier interoperable radio system, the Mississippi Wireless Information Network.”
This network will provide first responders 97 percent coverage for interoperable voice communication from 100 miles into the Gulf of Mexico to the Tennessee state line when complete. To date, it is complete from the Gulf to Central Mississippi.
Barbour has words of praise for Clark. “We are fortunate to have her on staff. I know first hand that Serena’s strengths include impeccable character, a focused perspective on her life’s goals, an earnest desire to make a difference and an unflinching positive loyalty to the causes in which she believes,” he said.
Before joining the governor’s staff, Clark was with the law firm of Butler, Snow, O’Mara, Stevens and Cannada where she was an associate in the products liability and general litigation departments.
A 2008 alumna of the 50 Leading Women in Business and an attorney with the Baker Donelson law firm, Stephanie M. Rippee said of Clark, “Serena has demonstrated that she is of high moral character and has a tremendous work ethic. She is active in the community and balances that with raising three beautiful children. She does it all with grace and success.”
James C. Cox with Cox and Moore attorneys at law says it’s been a pleasure knowing and working with Clark 17 years. He is president of the Delta State University National Alumni Association in which Clark is actively engaged. “I have found her to be extremely capable, energetic and highly motivated,” he said. “I’ve worked with her on many activities. We rely heavily on her for leadership in our association, and she has always risen to the challenge.”
In addition to her professional and community endeavors, Clark stays busy with her daughters, Carter and Chaney, and son, Cooper. She is also a marathon runner and instructor at Fitness Lady. She enjoys running, reading, journaling, visiting art galleries and museums and taking her children on trips.
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