Mary Parker, Democrat, candidate for state representative, House District 22
A mother of four and grandmother of five, Mary Parker is entering the world of elected politics with an appreciation for the democratic process and a wealth of experience as a working mom and small-business owner. She moved to Jefferson County from Maryland six years ago. All her daughters and their families live in the metro area as well.
Parker has been president of her homeowner association and a volunteer court-appointed special advocate, working with abused and neglected children in Jefferson County. She and her husband run a small business, HR Solutions. She is in favor of the Jeffco Schools ballot issues 3A and 3B and of doing more to keep guns out of the hands of deranged persons. She also supports abortion rights and the Affordable Health Care Act. She has pledged not to accept political action committee money.
Name: Mary Parker
Current residence: Eagle Point, six years
Years of residence in Jefferson County: six years
College: B.A., University of Maryland
Birthplace: Minneola, N.Y.
Profession/trade/current job: Co-owner, HR Solutions
Past work experience: Systems engineer, Hewlett-Packard
Married: to husband Steve
Children: Four adult children, five grandchildren
Favorite charity? CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for children)
Political party affiliation: Describe your previous experience in elected office, political party leadership positions, campaign activities.
I am a Democrat. I have not run for elected office before, but I have worked as a volunteer on several presidential, senatorial and mayoral campaigns.
Community involvement in nonprofits, HOA boards, county boards and commissions.
• Court Appointed Special Advocate from 2007 to present
• Truancy Special Advocate from 2011 to present
• Board of directors, Parent Encouragement Program, 1988-1992
• President, Eagle View/Eagle Point HOA, 2007-2009
• Member, Strategic Planning and Advisory Committee for Jeffco Schools, 2011 to present
Time commitment: If elected, how much time do you expect to devote to state responsibilities and how much to other work responsibilities?
I expect to devote 100 percent of my time to state responsibilities.
What is your main reason for wanting to be a state representative?
Most people can’t even name their representatives. I want to make a connection with voters that gives them confidence that their concerns are being heard.
What personal qualities, job or educational experience do you bring to the job that would benefit your role as a state representative?
I have experience as a small-business owner and in the corporate world and would bring problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills to the job.
What one element of state government do you feel needs to be improved, why and what will you do about it?
Conflicting constitutional provisions call for mandatory increases in expenditures while at the same time prohibiting such increases. I will work to reconcile these conflicts.
Name something that distinguishes you from your opponent and makes you a better choice for the job.
I have knocked on 16,000 doors to learn what matters most to voters. I want to earn their votes, not take them for granted.
Describe your political philosophy (i.e., why are you a Republican/Democrat/independent and not a Libertarian/conservative/progressive, etc.)
My philosophy is simple: If we want good government, we have to elect people who believe in it.
Should hydraulic fracking be regulated by the state or local entities?
State regulations are needed to set a basic and consistent framework within which the fracking industry can plan. Local entities should have the ability to challenge any plans that impact the safety and welfare of their citizens and communities.
What should be done about funding higher education?
Funding for higher education in Colorado comprises less than 9 percent of the general fund. Given how important the quality and affordability of our institutions of higher education are to Colorado’s economy, we must realign our priorities so that higher education is no longer at the bottom.
Should marijuana be legalized?
I believe that marijuana should be reclassified as a drug and regulated as such. This legalization needs to be done at the federal level.
What can the state do better to create jobs?
I support tax incentives for companies that keep jobs in the state and for hiring veterans and people who are unemployed. In addition, investments in infrastructure and higher education will attract new business and encourage expansion in Colorado.
Do you believe in the Affordable Health Act and the creation of health insurance exchanges in the state?
I believe that all Americans should have access to affordable health care. I support the bipartisan efforts of the Colorado General Assembly to create the Colorado Health Benefits Exchange, an online marketplace where small businesses and individuals can easily compare and purchase health insurance.
Should the funding formula for PERA be changed?
The Colorado legislature deserves credit for instituting steps to improve the stability of PERA. This legislation is performing as intended and should be allowed to continue with regular reviews and adjustments, if necessary, to its funding projections.
Do you believe in special tuition rates statewide for students who are undocumented, raised in this country, with three years of high school?
Undocumented students who have been raised in this country should be given a clear path to citizenship. Until they achieve citizenship, they should fall under the same residency requirements as other non-citizens who qualify for in-state tuition. Attending three years of high school would satisfy this requirement.
Should the state be doing more about wildfire prevention at the state level?
The state should work with the Forest Service to ensure that restoration and mitigation projects take place as needed. The state should also have local plans for thinning and removal of brush and small trees, especially in areas where there are houses and other buildings.
What needs to be done to resolve the state’s ongoing budget crisis?
Colorado is working under conflicting constitutional provisions that threaten the state’s fiscal stability. The most glaring examples are Amendment 23 and TABOR. These two amendments must be revisited in order to resolve these conflicts.
Should colleges and universities be able to ban guns on campus?
Yes. Colleges and universities, as well as school boards and city councils, should have control when it comes to local issues.