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Vernon B. Parker (born November 16, 1959) is an American politician. He is a member of the Republican Party. Parker served as the Mayor of Paradise Valley, Arizona from 2008 to 2010 and as a Paradise Valley councilmember.
|Mayor of Paradise Valley, Arizona|
|Born||November 16, 1959|
|Residence||Paradise Valley, Arizona|
|Alma mater||Georgetown University Law Center|
|Occupation||Paradise Valley Councilmember|
Early life, education and careerEdit
Parker was born in Houston, Texas to a poor mother and was eventually sent to live with his grandmother in Long Beach, California. He did well in high school and attended Long Beach Community College. He then attended California State University, Long Beach where he majored in Finance, and upon graduation began to work at Rockwell International. He purchased a house at this time, but sold it when he got an offer to attend Georgetown University Law School. At Georgetown, he served as editor-in-chief of the Georgetown American Criminal Law Review. His grandmother and mother worked cleaning houses to help him make it through law school, and his brother gave him all the money he could spare. "I realized that me going to law school was not as an individual, but as something for my family, something for my community." He said in an interview with the American Spectator.
Parker once had his own law firm as well as his own small business. Parker had served as interim pastor of his church. He is a Member of Greater Phoenix Salvation Army Advisory Board, he had served on the board of Christian Family Care Agency and served on the board of Starshine Academy Charter School.
After finishing his law degree, Parker worked on George H.W. Bush's 1988 presidential campaign and went on to serve on the staff of the Office of Personnel Management for 4 years. His first position in the federal government as counselor to the director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). He was simultaneously the director of policy for OPM. Two years into his career with OPM, he was appointed general counsel. He was then named Special Assistant to the President on the White House Staff.
In 2003, he was appointed Assistant Secretary of Agriculture for Civil Rights in the George W. Bush Administration and served in that position for more than 3 years, commuting between his home in Arizona and Washington D.C.
He was elected to the Paradise Valley City Council in 2008 with 67% of the vote and chosen by the council to serve as mayor. He is the first African-American Mayor of Paradise Valley, a mostly white town.
On January 29, 2010, Parker announced he was running for Congress in Arizona's 3rd congressional district, aiming to succeed retiring U.S. Congressman John Shadegg. Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, former Congressman and Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party Matt Salmon and Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCicco have endorsed his candidacy. He raised over $230,000 in the first quarter of 2010 for his bid. His bid was eventually unsuccessful.
In 2012, he was elected to serve a second term on the Paradise Valley town council. He resigned later that year to focus on his run for Congress, and the Paradise Town Council will appointed someone to fill out the remainder of his term.
In 2012, Parker ran for the United States House of Representatives in Arizona's 9th district. He won the Republican nomination on August 28, 2012, but lost to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the November election.
In 2014, Parker ran for the Republican nomination for the Arizona Corporation Commission on a ticket with former state legislator Lucy Mason. As of July 18, 2014, over $400,000 of dark money was spent attempting to defeat Parker and Mason. The anonymous funds were widely speculated in the media to have been provided by Arizona Public Service, the state's leading electricity company, in response to the candidates' open support of the rooftop solar industry. Parker's campaign website also posted an APS company memo, signed by its parent company's CEO Donald Brandt, encouraging its employees to vote against them in the primary election. Parker was publicly endorsed by rooftop solar advocacy group Tell Utilities Solar Won't Be Killed (TUSK).
Small Business Administration controversyEdit
In July 2008, at the request of Democratic Congresswoman Nadia Velasquez, Vernon Parker was investigated by the Office of Inspector General relating to his consulting contract (through VBP Group, LLC) with the Small Business Administration. As a result of its investigation, OIG found numerous suspicious and unusual circumstances relating to rapid approval by SBA during the Bush administration of the application. OIG found that "SBA’s approval was based on documents submitted by VBP that were false or of questionable authenticity."  OIG recommended suspension of the contract and institution of termination and disbarment proceedings against Parker. In December 2008, SBA terminated the consulting contract with VBP Group. Specifically, "SBA determined Petitioner represented its owner was not a federal employee when he was and that Petitioner falsified invoices as evidence of contract performance."  The termination was upheld on administrative appeal to the Office of Administrative Hearings. The judge found that the evidence supported the SBA's findings and the termination of the contract. Parker chose not to challenge the OAH appellate decision in court. He later sued the SBA for $2 million in damages but the case was dismissed. Parker's attorney, former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton asserts that the investigation was flawed.
Foreclosure notice on homeEdit
Parker received a foreclosure notice on his home in Paradise Valley (outside the 9th Congressional District for which he is running), according to the Arizona Republic, a large newspaper based in Arizona. According to the Arizona Republic, "Parker's 3,592-square-foot Paradise Valley home, bought in 2002, according to property records, went into foreclosure proceedings in February , with an auction scheduled for May 11 . His MetLife Home Loan mortgage is for $417,000. Parker and his wife also have a $500,000 line of credit taken out in 2004." On April 6, Parker paid off his overdue payments to stop the foreclosure.
Parker and his wife Lisa have two children, Sonya and Ian. They currently live in Arizona.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (2010-03-10). "Candidates Number 8, but Quayles Just One". The New York Times.
- Stacy, Robert (2010-04-07). "The American Spectator : The Mayor of Paradise". Spectator.org. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- "Parker, Vernon". Usda.gov. 2003-04-01. Retrieved 2010-07-09.
- Experience Matters Flyer
- "Kyrsten Sinema Becomes First Openly Bisexual Member of Congress". ABC News. Nov 12, 2012.
- "Will Dark Money Affect Your Future Electric Bill". The Arizona Republic. Jul 18, 2014.
- "Arizona Free Enterprise Club Doles Out Big Money in Election Races". The Arizona Republic. Aug 5, 2014.
- "Get Out and Vote in Aug. 26 Election" (PDF). vernonbparker.com. Vernon Parker ACC Campaign. Retrieved 11 August 2014.
- "Two Corp Comm Candidates Rail Against APS". KFYI News. Aug 11, 2014.
- Sanders, Rebekah. "Arizona Congress candidate Vernon Parker had faced foreclosure". Arizona Republic. Retrieved July 26, 2012.