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Former Mayor Clarence E. Phillips was born, raised, and received his formal education in the city of Pontiac. He was a graduate of Pontiac Central High School. He was married to Lorene Phillips and had two sons, Kaino and Damani. Mayor Phillips served 4 years in the U.S. Air Force and is a Vietnam-era veteran. His military record includes service of 10 years in the Air Force Reserve as a Human Relations Instructor. He was a graduate of the Department of Defense Equal Opportunity and Management Institute. He earned an Associate's Degree of Arts from Oakland Community College, a Bachelor's in Sociology/Psychology from Oakland University, and a Bachelor's in Secondary Education from Oakland University. Upon retirement, he taught for 25 years in the Oak Park School District. For seven of those years, he was also the Director of the Alternative Education Center in Oak Park. His political background includes being a John F. Kennedy alumnus at Harvard University, 3 times elected to the Pontiac City Council, 3 years served as President of the Pontiac City Council, and 14 years serving on the City of Pontiac Planning Commission. 


He was elected 3 times to the Michigan House of Representatives, where he served on the House Appropriations Committee. In 2005, he was elected mayor of the City of Pontiac, where he served until 2009. Clarence Phillips was a member of the Oakland County Veterans group, Vietnam Veterans of America, American Legion Post 20, and Kiwanis Club. He volunteered 25 years with the Pontiac School District's athletic programs; this included serving as stadium public address announcer for the PCH/PNH football games, coaching softball/baseball for 15 years, and organizing a city-wide free law fair.

Additionally, he created the concept for the newly built Veterans Memorial in Pontiac, organized the Old Timers Annual Summer Picnic and the Pontiac Center Reunion, and created the Annual Metro-Michigan High School Jazz Band Competition for high schools across the state of Michigan. He was the recipient of numerous awards including the LCLAA Cesar E. Chavez Humanitarian Award, Lakeside Achievement Award, Black History Month Service Award, Greater Pontiac Community Coalition Award, OCC Alumni of the Year Award, and American Legion’s Americanism Medal (highest award). He also created "Community Perspectives ", a public service program on the state level generated out of the Capitol Building in Lansing for local cable television. His life's mission was to give all of himself for a purpose so much greater than ones existence. He did that until the day he left this world, and his Legacy continues on.

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