By Ebony Hairston
June 23, 2007
An Interview With:
Sherman Parker-Former State Representative, and founder of an African American Republican Group
How did you get interested in politics?
SP: I grew up around politics. The news was always on in my house. I loved current affairs. I never ran for any office in high school or college.
In high school I went to Boy State and met Bob Holden and Vince Shamel.
I caught the political bug.
How did you get your start?
SP: My first job ever was for the City of St. Louis City Hall. I got to sit in on aldermanic meetings and got to meet the alderman and the mayor. The only thing was, I was a Republican and I knew they were all democrats.
So, next I did an internship with Senator Kit Bond in college. I was going to the University of Vermont which is very progressive. I made lifelong friends there and pledged Delta PSI. Then I worked for Katherine Hanaway...
You are a Republican and you believe more African Americans should be Republicans. What does the Republican Party have to offer African American people?
SP: I believe that there needs to be a balance, and that African Americans need to be represented in both parties so our voices are heard no matter who is in power.
I believe that Republicans have something to offer African Americans in terms of educational reform, and economic development. For example, for subsidies that help people renovate buildings and start small businesses.
One issue that you seem to be concerned about is domestic violence, what got you interested in this issue? Do you have a plan to combat domestic violence and can you give me some details on it?
Without going into too many details mine as in many families we had our own run in with domestic violence. I was contacted by a constituent who was involved in a domestic violence incident and the police came to break it up and let her husband leave with his firearms. If there is a drug bust and and the police see guns when they come to arrest people they take every thing but not with domestic violence. I wrote a bill to close the loophole that allows abusive spouses to keep their firearms when they are removed from a domestic dispute. I don’t think it will ever be passed in Missouri. There is more grand standing than problem solving.
Another issue you feel is important is health care. What is wrong with the U.S. health care system that needs fixing?
SP: It is too expensive; there are 46 million uninsured, and its not so high quality.
What do you think we should do about it?
SP: I like the Massachusetts plan. I think the states will be a testing ground. There are new things that Governor Matt Blunt is doing. I think we should cover the young
One popular issue is national security? Are we safer than we were at 9/11? What do you feel still needs to be done?
SP: We are safer than we were at 9/11, but we need to secure the borders, North and South. The Canadian border needs a great deal of work. We need a troop presence, border stops.
Do you plan to run for office again?
SP: Yes, I plan to run again.
What are some of your latest initiatives?
SP: An African American Republican group, Missouri Spectrum.