Michael Parker (politician)

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Mike Parker
Michael Parker.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1989 – January 3, 1999
Preceded by Wayne Dowdy
Succeeded by Ronnie Shows
Personal details
Born (1949-10-31) October 31, 1949 (age 64)
Laurel, Mississippi, U.S.
Political party Democratic (1989–1995)
Republican (1995–present)

Michael Parker (born October 31, 1949) is an American politician from the U.S. state of Mississippi. He served in Congress as a member of the Democratic Party and, later, the Republican Party. He later served as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army, with authority over the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Biography[edit]

Parker was born in Laurel, Mississippi and he graduated from William Carey College with a BA in English in 1970. Before entering politics, Parker owned and operated a funeral home business, insurance companies, land and timber companies, and a sand, clay and gravel business. Parker was elected to the House of Representatives as a Democrat in 1988 following a hard-fought primary with a wide field of contenders. The district included Jackson, Vicksburg, Natchez, McComb, and Brookhaven.

Party switch[edit]

As a Democratic congressman, Parker wore his party ties very loosely. His voting record was conservative even by Mississippi Democratic standards. During Parker's successful 1992 general election campaign, he did not endorse Democratic party Presidential candidate Bill Clinton. After his re-election in November 1994, Parker voted 'Present' in the election for Speaker of the House in 1995 instead of voting for the House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt.

In November 1995, Parker completed his switch away from the Democrats and joined the Republican Party. Although his district was almost 40 percent African-American—one of the highest percentages for a Republican-held district—Parker was reelected with little difficulty in 1996. He did not run for re-election in 1998 in order to focus on his bid for Governor of Mississippi.

In the gubernatorial election Parker had almost 9,000 fewer votes than his Democratic opponent, Lieutenant Governor Ronnie Musgrove. However, due to the presence of two minor candidates, Musgrove came up a few thousand votes short of a majority. Under an 1890 law, the first tiebreaker was whoever won the most state electoral votes (based on State house districts). Each candidate won 61 of the 122 state electoral votes. The election was thus decided by the Mississippi House of Representatives, where the Democrats had a supermajority at the time. However, Parker refused to concede, and the House elected Musgrove 86-36 along partisan lines.[1]

Army Corps[edit]

Parker was appointed by George W. Bush as Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works), with oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers, which has numerous projects in Parker's home state of Mississippi. Parker was one of the first political casualties of the Bush administration's heavily centralized management style when he spoke out to promote the corp of engineers priorities and was then asked to leave in the summer of 2002. In recent years Parker has been a Washington lobbyist, specializing in infrastructure issues.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://nationaljournal.com/pubs/almanac/2002/people/ms/msgv.htm

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Wayne Dowdy
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Mississippi's 4th congressional district

1989–1999
Succeeded by
Ronnie Shows
Government offices
Preceded by
Joseph W. Westphal
Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works)
October 2001 – March 2002
Succeeded by
John Paul Woodley, Jr.