BACKGROUND: Parker, 71, of Bellport, is running on the Democratic line. He is a retired retail entrepreneur who works as a consultant. He serves on the boards of the Boys and Girls Club of Bellport and Long Island Community Hospital in East Patchogue. He attended Central State College in Oklahoma but did not receive a degree. Parker served in the Army from 1966 to 1969. He is married and has three children. This is Parker's first run for elected office.
ISSUES: Parker said his primary concerns are environmental protection, health care, education, and housing and homelessness. Though he said he is not sure he favors universal health care, he admires programs in nations such as Germany and Canada that seek to provide affordable health care to all citizens. “Everybody’s insured. No one has to worry about dying on the street,” Parker said. "It may not be perfect, but it's better than nothing." He said recycling programs should be modeled on European programs that provide receptacles for bottles and cans in public places. He said he wants to create more affordable housing to address homelessness and poverty. He said some people are "living in the woods and that just isn’t right. We live in the richest country in the world and people are living in the streets. There’s something not right about that.” On education, Parker said he favors programs that encourage children to stay in school, and he would reduce student-teacher ratios. Teachers, he said, are “overworked. There are so many students and so few teachers.” He supports consolidation of government services, pointing to such an effort underway in Brookhaven Town. Parker said he would cross party lines to work with Republicans on issues of mutual interest. “Working with people on both sides of the fence is crucial,” he said. “I’m very much a believer in communication.” He also hopes to build trust in government among his constituents, especially young people. “There’s only so much I can do, but if I can have a voice in any of that, it would make me very happy," he said.