COLUMBIA --- No crank calls, no hate mail, no memorable attacks. That's either a good sign or a dismal one for Tom Clements' U.S. Senate campaign.
The Green Party candidate says his campaign events have drawn interest from people who are relieved to have an alternative to Republican Sen. Jim DeMint and his Democratic challenger, Alvin Greene.
Born in Savannah, Ga., in 1951, the first-time candidate grew up in small-town Georgia, first in Claxton before moving to Waynesboro. Clements' mother was a math teacher and his father was a high school principal in Burke County. When Clements' father tried to integrate the high schools, his family became the target of threatening phone calls and yard vandalism and decided to move north of Atlanta.
Clements holds a bachelor's degree from Emory University and a master's degree from the University of Georgia. After starting as a strip mine regulator, Clements spent 13 years working on nuclear issues for Greenpeace International, traveling to Europe, Japan, Russia and South Korea. He was the director of a Washington nonproliferation organization, the Nuclear Control Institute; spent two years in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica; and worked for a human rights organization in Colombia.
Since 2008, he has continued his focus on nuclear issues as the Southeastern nuclear campaign coordinator of Friends of the Earth. Clements estimates that his watchdog role in nuclear issues involving Savannah River Site has spanned 30 years.
"I have some concerns about proposals for future plans at the site," he said. "But I'd definitely work to make sure the cleanup of the site, management of high-level nuclear waste receives public funding. It's essential to clean up the mess left from the Cold War."
He said he's concerned about the amount of SRS stimulus money -- $1.6 billion -- that has gone toward administrative costs, and that stimulus dollars must be tracked better. He also says alternative energy should be given a more serious look as a source of new jobs, Social Security should be preserved and military spending should be reined in.
Clements also pointed to his Peach State background.
"I think I'd bring a more holistic perspective to the discussion, at least as far as Georgia goes, to the lower Savannah River and the ports issue," he said.