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

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

Carey Parker, who helped form and shepherd to passage a number of the most important federal legal guidelines of the previous 50 years because the chief legislative aide to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), changing into an eminence of Capitol Hill in his personal proper, died Dec. 4 at a rehabilitation middle in McLean, Va. He was 88.

The trigger was problems from an enlarged prostate, mentioned his daughter Annie Parker Dalgleish.

Mr. Parker was 34 years outdated, a Rhodes scholar with a Harvard regulation diploma, when he joined Kennedy’s workplace in 1969. Scarcely six months earlier, the senator’s brother Robert, a U.S. senator from New York then in search of the 1968 Democratic nomination for president, had been fatally shot in California.

Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in 1963, Robert’s loss of life left Ted the one surviving Kennedy son and, as a senator nonetheless in his first full time period, the inheritor to his household’s political legacy.

Over the following 4 many years, by means of tragedy and controversy, Ted Kennedy emerged as some of the consequential senators of his period. He oversaw a big workplace of staffers who shared his dedication to civil rights, social justice and different central tenets of liberalism. However by all accounts, no aide did extra behind the scenes than Mr. Parker to translate Kennedy’s beliefs into laws, or to help him as he assumed his mantle because the “lion of the Senate.”

“He was my father’s alter ego,” Patrick J. Kennedy, Ted Kennedy’s youngest little one and a former Democratic congressman from Rhode Island, mentioned of Mr. Parker in an interview, recalling how the senator relied on Mr. Parker’s “brilliance” to “advance their frequent trigger.”

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Mr. Parker was employed as a legislative assistant however quickly took on obligations far outstripping the title. In his not too long ago printed biography “Ted Kennedy: A Life,” creator John A. Farrell described Mr. Parker as “one thing of a Senate legend” and one among Kennedy’s “matchless belongings.”

On issues of laws, he “had the primary phrase with the senator and the final phrase with the senator,” Jeff Blattner, who served as chief counsel to Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary Committee, mentioned in an interview.

Like Kennedy, Mr. Parker was a talented negotiator, ever attuned to the wants and ambitions of colleagues on each side of the political aisle. Additionally like Kennedy, he had a capacious thoughts for the intricacies of coverage on issues starting from voting rights to well being care to tax coverage to apartheid in South Africa and peace in Northern Eire.

The senator devoted years to well being care and social companies. Working carefully with Mr. Parker, he helped cross legal guidelines together with the 1990 People With Disabilities Act, the 1993 Household and Medical Go away Act, the 1996 Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability Act (usually referred to as HIPAA), the 1997 regulation that created what’s now the Kids’s Well being Insurance coverage Program (extensively generally known as CHIP), and the Reasonably priced Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed in 2010, a 12 months after Kennedy died.

“He had a direct impression on many, many items of laws that improved the lives of actually thousands and thousands of individuals,” mentioned Paul Donovan, who served on Kennedy’s employees from 1987 to 1997, together with as press secretary and chief of employees.

Mr. Parker additionally served Kennedy as a speechwriter. He was cited as a principal creator of the 1987 handle Kennedy delivered on the Senate flooring 45 minutes after President Ronald Reagan introduced that he would nominate conservative jurist Robert H. Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court docket.

In response to Farrell’s e-book, Blattner had written the primary draft of the speech. However after Mr. Parker completed with the textual content, “it had a zing like biting a jalapeño,” Blattner instructed Farrell.

“Robert Bork’s America is a land by which ladies could be pressured into back-alley abortions, Blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police may break down residents’ doorways in midnight raids and schoolchildren couldn’t be taught about evolution,” Kennedy thundered. “Writers and artists might be censored on the whim of presidency, and the doorways of the federal courts could be shut on the fingers of thousands and thousands of residents for whom the judiciary is usually the one protector of the person rights which can be the center of our democracy.

“America,” he declared, “is a greater and freer nation than Robert Bork thinks.”

Bork’s nomination was in the end rejected by the Senate in some of the divisive battles over a judicial nomination to that time. “It actually served its goal,” Mr. Parker mentioned of the speech in a 2008 oral historical past with the Miller Middle on the College of Virginia.

In 1994, throughout the Clinton administration, Mr. Parker helped shepherd by means of the Senate affirmation means of Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who had served as chief counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee when Kennedy was chairman.

Mr. Parker was a key adviser to Kennedy throughout the 1980 presidential election, by which Kennedy challenged incumbent President Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination. Kennedy’s bid was unsuccessful, but it surely gave him the platform for some of the memorable speeches of his profession, his handle on the Democratic Nationwide Conference in New York. Kennedy speechwriter Bob Shrum drafted the remarks however credited Mr. Parker with refining them.

Within the speech, Kennedy congratulated Carter on his victory and mentioned that “for me, a couple of hours in the past, this marketing campaign got here to an finish.”

However “for all these whose cares have been our concern,” he declared, “the work goes on, the trigger endures, the hope nonetheless lives, and the dream shall by no means die.”

William Carey Parker II was born in Philadelphia on Oct. 3, 1934. His father was a doctor, and his mom was a church volunteer.

He grew up in Bryn Mawr, Pa., and was a 1952 graduate of the personal Haverford Faculty in Haverford, Pa. He acquired a bachelor’s diploma in chemical engineering from Princeton College in 1956, studied as a Rhodes scholar at Trinity Faculty on the College of Oxford, and acquired a PhD within the sciences from what’s now Rockefeller College in New York in 1963.

Impressed by Kennedy’s 1960 inaugural handle, by which he requested People to “ask not what your nation can do for you — ask what you are able to do in your nation,” Mr. Parker pursued a profession in public service.

He acquired a bachelor of legal guidelines diploma from Harvard College in 1965, clerked for U.S. Supreme Court docket Justice Potter Stewart and served as a particular assistant within the Justice Division’s felony division earlier than becoming a member of Ted Kennedy’s employees. Throughout their early years collectively, they performed a key position in decreasing the voting age to 18 from 21, a purpose achieved with the ratification in 1971 of the twenty sixth Modification.

Kennedy so valued Mr. Parker’s service that, in an uncommon association, he used his private wealth and cash from his political motion fund to complement Mr. Parker’s Senate wage. Mr. Parker served the senator till Kennedy’s loss of life from mind most cancers, and remained on the workplace employees beneath Paul G. Kirk Jr., who held the Senate seat till Republican Scott Brown’s victory in a 2010 particular election.

Mr. Parker was a longtime resident of the Georgetown neighborhood of Washington. His spouse of 57 years, the previous Betsy Libby, died in January. Survivors embody two daughters, Annie Parker Dalgleish of Vienna, Va., and Catherine Parker of Seattle; a brother; and 5 grandchildren.

Mr. Parker cared little for the dinners and cocktail events the place congressional hobnobbers usually collect. He labored by means of lunch on daily basis, eating at his desk on an egg salad sandwich bought from the Senate cafeteria.

He did, nevertheless, confess to having fun with the Kennedy workplace vacation events, by which the snowy-haired senator would typically gown up as Santa Claus. One 12 months, Kennedy went as Barney, the purple Tyrannosaurus rex of the youngsters’s tv present, in a self-deprecating nod to jabs at him as an growing old “dinosaur” of Capitol Hill. One other 12 months, Kennedy, the “lion of the Senate,” donned a dressing up from “The Lion King.”

Mr. Parker, ever content material to let the senator shine, wore his regular apparel. “I used to be simply standing within the background,” he mentioned.



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