Former Phoenix-area mayor fondly recalls working for George HW Bush
PHOENIX — Before serving as a mayor in suburban Phoenix, Vernon Parker worked in the White House under George H.W. Bush, and the late former president left a lasting impression on the Arizona politician.
“It was probably one of the greatest honors I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Parker told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Monday.
Parker, who was a special assistant to the president, shared a story about Bush addressing the White House staff after losing his re-election bid to Bill Clinton in 1992.
“He felt that he had let us all down, but he didn’t,” Parker said. “He made this country a much better place.”
Rest In Peace… I am blessed to have known and worked for one of the greatest Presidents of our time. Thank you Mr. President for all that you did to make this a great country. pic.twitter.com/fiV51NjYcr
— Vernon B. Parker (@VernonBParker) December 1, 2018
Parker felt compelled to write a letter telling Bush, who died Friday night, he would be remembered as a great president. He gave Bush the note in the Oval Office.
The next morning, a handwritten letter from the president arrived at Parker’s office.
“There was a huge international crisis going on at the time, and the president took the time to handwrite and thank me for my service,” Parker said.
“And I just said to myself, ‘I’m a huge procrastinator, but if the leader of the free world can do something like that, then I will stop procrastinating.
“Sad to say, I have reverted back to my procrastination.”
Parker said he still has the letter.
After leaving the White House, Parker remained in public service. In 2003, he joined the George W. Bush administration as assistant secretary of agriculture for civil rights.
He served as mayor of Paradise Valley from 2008 to 2010, and in 2012 he was the Republican nominee for the U.S. House seat from Arizona’s 9th congressional district. He lost the general election to future U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema by around 10,000 votes.