Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wm. Carey Parker, II, R.I.P.

Fond memories of Wm. Carey Parker, II, Senator Ted Kennedy's longtime legislative director. 

He was a humble man, a true public servant, who helped Senator Kennedy with speeches and legislation, and still had time to teach me about the dance of legislation when I was a freshman and sophomore intern.  He appeared to take me seriously despite my youth, explaining things to me, at a time when I had already read ravenously about the Senate for years before I arrived in Washington for college, ready to learn.  

I would read the speeches that Carey Parker wrote for Senator Kennedy,  carrying them to waiting reporters on the subway to the Capitol. 

Sometimes I waited for his drafts to be finalized typed into a final copy by Ms. Shannon McDonald, then to be mimeographed and walked to the Capitol by "Fast Eddie" (that would be me) and shared with three Senate press galleries (for newspapers, magazines and radio/tv). Ms. McDonald worked well with Carey. I remember him handing her his draft of a floor statement, and watching her pause before working on it; she told me she knew his habits and that he would have edits after he gave it to her (she was right).

It was Carey Parker who wrote "Robert Bork's America," the tough speech that Senator Kennedy delivered on the Senate floor when President Ronald Wilson Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court (defeated 58-42).

Carey Parker helped EMK and the Senate enact great reform laws, including ADA, HIPPAA, FMLA, CHIP and, after Senator Kennedy died, ACA.

Carey Parker avoided the limelight, one of those hard-working Senate staffers with a "passion for anonymity."   Once at a Christmas party at Senator Kennedy's home in Virginia, I remember that Carey Parker started to leave shortly before 9 PM; Senator Kennedy affectionately and loudly called out, "Carey, you can't go!" 

We need more people like Carey Parker in the halls of government: smart people with high ideals (rather than the reverse, which too often occurs in government offices these days).

He will be missed.

From The Washington Post: 

Mr. Parker with his wife, Betsy, on the veranda of his office at the Russell Senate Office Building in 1990. (Annie Parker Dalgleish) 

Carey Parker, back row, second from left, served for four decades as a key staffer to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. Mr. Parker is shown here with Kennedy, far left, at the White House in 1994 at the swearing in of Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, back row, third from right. (White House Photo)

Carey Parker, stalwart Senate aide to Ted Kennedy, dies at 88

He helped shape some of the most significant federal laws of the past 50 years, becoming an eminence of Capitol Hill in his own right

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