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Stanford Elmer "Stan" Parris (September 9, 1929 – March 27, 2010) was an American lawyer and Republican politician. He represented Virginia's 8th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives for six two year terms. He served in the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Virginia House of Delegates, and also as Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth. He served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, earning several medals.

Stanford Parris
Stan Parris.png
Parris speaking on the House floor in 1990
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th district
In office
January 3, 1981 – January 3, 1991
Preceded byHerbert E. Harris
Succeeded byJames P. Moran
In office
January 3, 1973 – January 3, 1975
Preceded byWilliam L. Scott
Succeeded byHerbert E. Harris
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 20th district
In office
April 11, 1969 – November 21, 1972
Preceded byGuy Farley
Succeeded byLucas Phillips
Member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors from the Mason District
In office
Preceded byAnne A. Wilkins
Succeeded byHarold O. Miller
Personal details
Stanford Elmer Parris

(1929-09-09)September 9, 1929
Champaign, Illinois
DiedMarch 27, 2010(2010-03-27) (aged 80)
Mathews County, Virginia
Political partyRepublican
ResidenceAlexandria, Virginia
Alma materUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
George Washington University
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/serviceUnited States Air Force
Years of service1950–1954
RankFirst lieutenant
Battles/warsKorean War
AwardsDistinguished Flying Cross ribbon.svg Dist. Flying Cross
Purple Heart ribbon.svg Purple Heart
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal

Early lifeEdit

Parris was born in Champaign, Illinois and educated in the public schools there. He earned a B.S. at University of Illinois (1950), and an LL.B. at the George Washington University (1958) while working as a doorkeeper at the United States Senate. He was a U.S. Air Force F-84 Thunderjet jet fighter aircraft pilot in the Korean War, and was shot down once and rescued.[1] His military decorations include the Distinguished Flying Cross with cluster, Air Medal with clusters, Purple Heart, Presidential Unit Citation (Korea), and Presidential Unit Citation (United States).[2] Following his discharge from the military, Parris worked briefly as an airline pilot, before starting law school. He was admitted to the bar in 1958, and set up a private law practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Parris was president of a Chrysler dealership in Woodbridge, Virginia and the Flying Circus Aerodrome, an air show.


Parris was elected to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and served one term (1964–1967). In 1969, he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates and served from April 11, 1969 to November 21, 1972. He was elected in 1972 to the United States House of Representatives, but lost his 1974 reelection bid to Democrat Herb Harris in the post-Watergate scandal. However, in the 1980 House elections, he defeated Harris by 1,090 votes. He sought his party's nomination for the 1985 election of Governor of Virginia, but withdrew in May.[3] In 1989, Parris again ran for Governor of Virginia. He lost in the Republican primary to former Attorney General Marshall Coleman and former United States Senator Paul S. Trible.[4] He also served a term as Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth in the late 1970s.[5]

In the 93rd Congress, Parris was a member of the House Committee on Science and Technology, its subcommittees on Aeronautics and Space Technology, Science, Research, and Development and Energy.[6] Economic woes and a federal budget stalemate contributed to his 1990 election loss to then Alexandria mayor James P. Moran Jr.[7] Parris was also known for introducing a bill during his first term which prohibited the National Football League from imposing television blackouts of non-sold-out games. His position as the ranking Republican member of the House District Committee often put him at odds with the city government of the District of Columbia, and resulted in frequent quarreling with the mayor, Marion Barry.

Parris thought about running for the United States Senate in 1982 after Harry F. Byrd Jr. retired, but opted to run for reelection to the House after Harris sought to regain his old seat. He defeated Harris by 1,600 votes, spending $700,000 in Virginia's most expensive congressional campaign up to that point.[8] He defeated State Senator Dick Saslaw with somewhat less difficulty in 1984, and easily defeated underfunded Democrats in 1986 and 1988. However, in 1990, he lost to Alexandria mayor Jim Moran by seven points in what is still considered an upset. During the campaign, Parris, referring to the issue of the Gulf War, said, "The only three people I know who support Saddam Hussein's position are Moammar Gadhafi, Yasser Arafat, and Jim Moran." Moran angrily responded by saying that Parris was "a deceitful, fatuous jerk", and that he wanted "to break his nose".[9][10] Moran's well-financed campaign also focused on Parris' opposition to abortion. Moran upset Parris, winning by 7.1 percent.[11][12]

President George H. W. Bush appointed him to a seven-year term as President of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation in 1991, weeks after he left Congress. He resigned four years later to run for a seat in the Virginia Senate.[13] His primary residence after leaving Congress was in Melbourne, Florida; but he also owned property in Mathews County, Virginia.[4]


Stanford Parris died from heart disease on March 27, 2010 at his home in Mathews County in eastern Virginia. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.[4]

Upon the death of Parris, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell said in a statement that Parris "played major leadership roles" in endeavors as varied as the establishment of the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Old Town Alexandria to flood control and closing the District of Columbia's former Lorton Reformatory in Fairfax County, and that "He used his time on this Earth to help others, and to effectively advance the ideas and principles in which he believed."[14]

Electoral historyEdit

Year Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1972 Stanford Parris Republican 60,446 44.4 Robert F. Horan Democratic 51,444 37.7 William Durland Independent 18,654 13.7
1974 Stanford Parris Republican 38,997 42.3 Herbert E. Harris Democratic 53,074 57.6
1980 Stanford Parris Republican 95,624 48.8 Herbert E. Harris Democratic 94,530 48.2 Deborah Frantz Independent 5,729 3.0
1982 Stanford Parris Republican 69,620 49.7 Herbert E. Harris Democratic 68,071 48.5 Austin W. Morrill Independent 2,373 1.6
1984 Stanford Parris Republican 125,015 55.7 Richard L. Saslaw Democratic 97,250 43.3 Donald Carpenter Independent 1,814 0.8
1986 Stanford Parris Republican 72,670 61.7 James H. Boren Democratic 44,965 38.2
1988 Stanford Parris Republican 154,761 62.3 David G. Brickley Democratic 93,561 37.6
1990 Stanford Parris Republican 76,367 44.6 James Moran Democratic 88,745 51.7 Robert T. Murphy Independent 5,958 3.5


  1. ^ Jenkins, Kent Jr. (October 25, 1988). "`Two-Gun Stan' Parris Enjoys Being Seen-And Heard". The Washington Post. Archived from the original (Fee) on October 26, 2012. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  2. ^ "Longtime lawmaker was also combat pilot". The Virginian Pilot via The Associated Press. March 28, 2010. pp. HR–7.
  3. ^ Atkinson, Frank B. (July 2006). Virginia in the Vanguard: Political Leadership in the 400-Year-Old Cradle of American Democracy, 1981–2006 (Cloth ed.). Rowman & Littlefield and University of Virginia Center for Politics. pp. 57–59, 48. ISBN 978-0-7425-5210-4. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  4. ^ a b c Schapiro, Jeff (March 27, 2010). "Former six-term Rep. Stanford E. Parris dies at 80". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved March 28, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  5. ^ "PARRIS, Stanford E." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  6. ^ "A History of the Committee on Science and Technology" (PDF). House Committee on Science and Technology. September 25, 2009. p. 117. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 14, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
  7. ^ Sabato, Larry. Virginia Votes 1987–1990. pp. 102–103. also cited in Atkinson, p. 113 fh. 81
  8. ^ Schudel, Matt (March 29, 2010). "Stanford E. Parris, 80, dies; N.Va. member of Congress". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2010.
  9. ^ Fiske, Warren (November 1, 1990). "8th District Face-Off of Parris, Moran Spiciest of VA. Contests". The Virginian-Pilot.
  10. ^ Allen, Jonathan (March 24, 2010). "Staff held Jim Moran back from protesters". Politico. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  11. ^ Jenkins, Kent (November 7, 1990). "Moran Takes 8th District From Parris". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ "Congressional Directory – Jim Moran" (PDF). Congressional Directory. December 2009. pp. 276–277. Retrieved March 10, 2010.[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ Helberg, Davis (November 3, 1998). "Principles and Politics". The Journal of Commerce. Seaway Port Authority. Archived from the original on January 23, 2003. Retrieved 2009-08-15.
  14. ^ "McDonnell praises Parris' accomplishments". The Richmond Times-Dispatch. March 27, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2010.[permanent dead link]

External linksEdit

Virginia House of Delegates
Preceded by
Thomas J. Rothrock
Virginia House of Delegates, 19th District – Counties of Fairfax (part) and Prince William (part); City of Fairfax
Succeeded by
William H. Moss Sr.
U.S. House of Representatives
Preceded by
William L. Scott
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Herbert Harris
Preceded by
Herbert Harris
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Virginia's 8th congressional district

Succeeded by
Jim Moran