Negative racial images have no place in the contest to represent Arizona’s new 9 th District in Congress, Republican candidate Vernon Parker tells Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
“Race should not play an issue in this race,” Parker, who is African American, tells Newsmax. “We should be talking about jobs. We should be talking about the economy. We should be talking about the future of the country, but, unfortunately, when people stoop this low in order to invoke past history to scare people not to vote for me, that’s pathetic.”
Parker, 51, is a lawyer and former mayor of Paradise Valley, Ariz. He currently is a member of the city council. He is a graduate of California State University and the Georgetown University Law Center.
He is locked in a heated battle with Democrat state Sen. Krysten Sinema to represent the Arizona new district.
Parker is referring to a flier put out by the Arizona Democratic Party that blasts his healthcare and tax plans and suggests that Parker has "questionable ethics." The flier features a digitally manipulated photograph of Parker that he says is "racially insensitive."
Both Sinema and state Democratic Party officials have refused to denounce the flier, saying the picture used in the document came from Parker's Facebook page.
Parker has alleged racism before. During a primary campaign for Congress two years ago, he called out fellow Republican Ben Quayle for telling voters that Parker would become "the national poster boy for the Democratic Party if elected."
Parker said then that he was offended by the use of the word "boy."
He also noted similarly race-based attacks this election season on fellow black Republicans Allen West in Florida and Mia Love in Utah. Both are running in heavily contested congressional races – and Love, who is Haitian, seeks to become the first black GOP female elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
“I just really find it so distracting that we’re even, in 2012, talking about race and the Democratic Party – which is supposed to be ecumenical, all inclusive – for them to put issues out there like that, it’s really pathetic,” Parker said.
“However, we are going to talk about the issues and about putting Americans back to work, making sure that the future generations can inherit the American promise. This is something that is so powerful. I would not be sitting here today but for that.
“My grandmother, she couldn’t read. She couldn’t write,” Parker added. “Two generations away from someone who couldn’t read. And for me to be running for Congress and, regardless of the color of my skin, I’m just so blessed and thankful to be here and to, hopefully, pass on that same dream on to future generations.
“It was through her vision of what the American Dream was that I got a great education. I went to a community college, all public. I eventually ended up at Georgetown University’s Law School. When my grandmother was 75 years old, I told her, ‘I can’t go to Georgetown because I don’t have the resources.’
“At 75, she cleaned houses to help get me there, because she wanted something better for me than what she had – and that is the American Dream and that is the focus.
“Let’s get people back to work,” Parker said. “Let’s get the middle class back to work – and let’s get America back to work.”
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