Vernon Parker Looks Back On Serving The Late President George H.W. Bush

By Bridget Dowd
Published: Saturday, December 1, 2018 - 1:13pm
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2018 - 8:21am
Audio icon Download mp3 (8.95 MB)
(Photo courtesy of Vernon Parker)
Photo of Vernon Parker with President George H.W. Bush

Former President George H.W. Bush died Friday night at the age of 94. The Republican held the Oval Office from 1989 to 1993.

Former Paradise Valley mayor, Republican Vernon Parker worked on Bush’s presidential campaign in 1988. It all started when Parker was a third-year law student at Georgetown University.

"I met a guy by the name of Lee Atwater who introduced me to then Vice President George H.W. Bush," Parker said. "Growing up in my neighborhood, Republicans were taboo. [But] I met him and just really had a deep admiration right from the start."

Parker turned from Democrat to Republican and started going door to door in New Hampshire and South Carolina. He said Bush was always very humble and he appreciated the people working on his campaign.

"It was in New Hampshire and it was during the primaries," Parker said. "It was snowing really hard and [Bush] and Ted Williams came to the campaign office and [Bush] was so grateful for all the folks who had volunteered."

Parker later served as Bush’s special assistant and said he remembers a special moment from Bush’s last day in the White House. 

“I gave him a hand written letter telling him that history will show that he was one of the best presidents," Parker said. "The next morning when I got to the office it was like 7 o’clock in the morning, I had a huge handwritten note from him.”

Parker said even though Bush was a Republican, he embraced everyone, including Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

"He embraced anyone who followed him in the office of the presidency because he wanted to see this country succeed," Parker said. "He will be truly, truly missed by me."

Bush will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday evening through Wednesday morning.

If you like this story, Donate Now!