Parker makes education a priority

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Parker is running for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate. If she wins the June 4 primary she would face Republican incumbent Jeff Sessions.

Parker supports the proposed North-South highway, which would run through West Alabama. "That’s essential," she said.

She is hopeful that there will be spinoff industries from the new Hyundai plant that will move into the Black Belt. But she is also concerned that Alabamians have the skills to work for those companies.

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Industry is looking for a well educated and skilled workforce, she said, and that is as much a priority as the infrastructure.

Education must be improved at every level, Parker said, and funded adequately. Sessions has voted against additonal funding for teacher units, new schools, special education and Pell grants.

Parker commended the contributions to the Demopolis City Schools Foundation. That kind of support is not true for so many areas in the Black Belt and the state, she said. "It takes a lot of commitment &045; things that government can’t provide like parental involvement."

She said a senator must fight for funding "and to do that you need leadership and you need someone who can work with people on both sides.

I am a person who has a record of leadership in communities, working with business and labor, working with Republicans and Democrats, and working together to get something done."

Parker said she will cross what ever political lines need to be crossed to get something done for all the people of Alabama.

It is important for a U.S. senator to keep in touch with their constituents and to have a good staff that will communicate and help citizens, community leaders, chambers of commerces

and industrial development boards, school boards and other organizations.

A senator must listen "to what their needs are and then have your staff people try to address their needs," she said.

She believes Sessions has not usually shown the initiative to help local communities in the state and does not have a good staff to faciliate those needs.

Parker said Sessions puts insurance, drug, oil and gas companies ahead of ordinary citizens. She wants to be a supporter of the ordinary citizen and business owner.

She is concerned about the catfish and shrimp farming in the area. Parker is supportive of labeling legislation which would identify foreign fish from U.S. grown.