Senator Parker Introduces Dyslexia Education Bill

Senator David Parker has introduced legislation to create a grant program by the State Department of Education to address the needs of students with dyslexia.

Parker’s Senate Bill 2296 would authorize and direct the State Department of Education to provide financial assistance for the recruitment, placement and employment of qualified licensed dyslexia therapy professionals to school districts.  These dyslexia therapy professionals would provide dyslexia screening, evaluation and therapy services to the students attending school in the school district.

“Students with dyslexia have specific needs that go beyond standard training, but they deserve to have a quality education like all other students.  This legislation would provide a mechanism for the state to assist local school districts in providing trained personnel to help students with dyslexia succeed,” Parker said.

“As a mom of two boys with dyslexia, we were unable to get the specialized instruction they need within the public school system. With as many as one-in-five students facing this learning difference, our schools need to learn to identify and then address the issue,” said Debra Dye of DeSoto County. “The funding provided by Senator Parker’s bill will help our schools with the resources needed to give these students the education that is appropriate for them.”

In his State of the State Address last week, Governor Phil Bryant spoke about dyslexia and said, “This reading disorder is the number one reason children drop out of school. If we confront it aggressively, we can see a dramatic decrease in our state’s dropout rate and help turn around our reading scores for thousands of Mississippi children.”

Funding for the measure would be appropriated by the legislature and could also be used to purchase curriculum materials and supplies for dyslexia therapy services.

To qualify for the funds, the school district would be required to use licensed dyslexia therapists or individuals participating in an approved training program; use daily Orton-Gillingham based therapy; have school leadership trained in dyslexia; and have a current School Program Verification and Assurances form on file with the State Department of Education.

“All students deserve the opportunity to learn, and measures like this one to address children with dyslexia, as well as others like the Equal Opportunity for Students with Special Needs Act, can bring needed reforms to Mississippi’s public schools,” said Parker.

The measure has been referred to the Senate Education Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.


Parker Praises Board of Education Withdrawal from PARCC

JACKSON (January 20, 2015) – Senator David Parker praised the Mississippi Board of Education for its January 16 vote to withdraw from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) consortium. PARCC is one of two federally funded multi-state groups creating Common Core tests.

“Common Core fails our students, frustrates their parents and burdens our teachers and we’re continuing the fight against it. PARCC tests were a major component of Common Core and the Board of Education made the correct decision to pull Mississippi out of the network,” Parker said.

Parker’s first bill of the session (SB2030) would have required the Board of Education to withdraw from PARCC.  “We in the Senate were prepared to act on the PARCC issue,” Parker said, “and Speaker of the House Philip Gunn had introduced legislation to sever the PARCC relationship as well, but I’m glad the Board of Education heard the message and acted accordingly.”

Next month, the Board of Education will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) for state assessments aligned to the standards starting in the 2015-2016 school year.

Currently Parker serves on six committees in the Senate: Economic Development, Elections, Finance, Housing, Judiciary-A and Public Health & Welfare.  Since his election, Parker has sponsored legislation to assist law enforcement, create election reform, promote DeSoto County tourism, streamline community college revenue and exempt decorated veterans from car fees and taxes.

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On Initiative 42

After some questions and concerns over the introduction of a Legislative Alternative to Ballot Initiative 42, I wanted to share the two primary concerns that necessitated a ballot alternative to Initiative 42.

1)      The original ballot initiative encourages lawsuits over school funding and places decisions regarding school district funding in the hands of a Hind’s county judge instead of in the legislature.  The exact wording of the original ballot initiative 42 is below. The new language is underlined and the removed language is in strikethrough.

SECTION 201.  To protect each child’s fundamental right to educational opportunity, The Legislature the State shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an adequate and efficient system of free public schools upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may provide.  The chancery courts of this State shall have the power to enforce this section with appropriate injunctive relief.

According to the eight attorneys I consulted, this language removes the legislature completely and replaces it with State and hands “power” to the chancery courts.  Jurisdiction will be Hind’s county and although that could be changed, it is highly unlikely that jurisdiction would ever be given to DeSoto County.

2)      Funding an efficient system could mean that districts that are performing very well are deemed efficient while those that are failing could be deemed inefficient.  The result could be a decrease in funding for DeSoto County and more money to other counties to try to make them equally efficient throughout the state.  A decrease in funding to our county could mean higher taxes for us to make up the difference.

The alternative we passed yesterday has the following language:

SECTION 201.  The legislature shall, by general law, provide for the establishment, maintenance and support of an effective system of free public schools. upon such conditions and limitations as the Legislature may provide.

This language will result in more funding to education in a manner that does not have unintended consequences.  Voting for this alternative from DeSoto County were Representatives Alday, Hamilton, Jennings, Kinkade, Lamar, and Nelson along with Senators Massey and myself (Parker).  In addition, this language is supported by the Governor, Lt. Governor, Speaker of the House, and all but two Republicans voted for the alternative.

Both options will now be on the November ballot.  For those who would still prefer option number one, it will remain on the ballot along with this second option.

If you’d like additional information about Initiative 42, here is a link to an analysis done by the Mississippi Center for Public Policy pointing out some problematic language in the initiative, the response by the organization Better Schools Better Jobs to those concerns, and the MCPP’s response to that response: Initiative 42: Proposed Constitutional Amendment Regarding Public Schools.

If you have further questions or would like to share additional thoughts about this or any other issue, feel free to contact me at or at the Capitol 601-359-2886.

Senator David Parker


Senator Parker Continues Fight Against Common Core

Tuesday, more than 30 people from DeSoto County concerned about public education traveled to Jackson for a series of events to show their opposition to Common Core, culminating in a rally on the South Steps of the Capitol which was joined by Governor Phil Bryant.

“More than two-dozen counties were represented, but when they did the county roll call, DeSoto was the loudest. I’m proud that our citizens are engaged on important policy issues and they would take a day to travel to Jackson to make their voices heard,” Parker said.

Parker, who opposed Common Core last session, joined several of his Senate colleagues at the rally to demonstrate continued opposition.  Both Governor Bryant and Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves have expressed their opposition to Common Core as well.

Senator David Parker with his son Jude, and Governor Phil Bryant at the rally.

Some of those attending the rally from DeSoto County included (L-R): Rob Goudy, Donnie Abernathy, Debra Dye and her sons Marshall & Cooper, John Anthony, Senator David Parker, Jude Parker and Ashleigh Parker.


Governor Phil Bryant speaks to the rally Tuesday as Senator David Parker and his colleagues look on.



Senator David Parker Announces for Re-Election

Dr. David Parker, an optometrist and small businessman, qualified for reelection to the state Senate Thursday morning.  He filed his qualifying papers with the Mississippi Republican Party.

“I believe elected office is a calling and, for people like me who are small business owners with the flexibility to serve, it is an opportunity to give back to our communities.  Working with the people and leaders of DeSoto County the past two years has confirmed to me the importance of fighting for smart, conservative policy for DeSoto and Mississippi.  I’m excited to announce my campaign for reelection and I will continue to fight for stronger schools, safer streets and more opportunities for job creation,” Parker said.

David, Ashleigh and Jude Parker pick up qualifying papers at the Mississippi Republican Party to file for reelection.

Parker, a Republican from Olive Branch, first won election to the Senate in a 2012 special election run-off with 62 percent of the vote.

Due to population growth in the DeSoto County area, legislative redistricting resulted in the creation of an additional state Senate district and moved legislative district lines.  As a result, Parker will be running in Senate District 2 rather than Senate District 19. At the time of redistricting, District 19 was the most populated Senate district in the state, with a population of about 83,000 when the target population for a Senate district was fewer than 55,000.

“I’ll be representing many of the same constituents,” Parker said.  “The lines moved, the numbers changed, but my home stayed in the same place and my heart is in this district.  I’ll be representing some of Olive Branch, where I live and have a practice; part of Southaven where I grew up, and Horn Lake where I recently opened another practice.”

New DeSoto area Senate District lines

Currently Parker serves on six committees in the Senate: Economic Development, Elections, Finance, Housing, Judiciary-A and Public Health & Welfare.  Since his election, Parker has sponsored legislation to assist law enforcement, create election reform, promote DeSoto County tourism, streamline community college revenue and exempt decorated veterans from car fees and taxes.

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 Paid for by Friends for David Parker


Parker hosts Gov Phil Bryant in meeting with DeSoto mayors

Fox 13 covered the meeting Senator David Parker hosted with Governor Phil Bryant and Olive Branch Mayor, Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite and Horn Lake Mayor Alan Latimer.

Watch the video here.

The informal meeting and luncheon with Gov. Bryant, Sen. Parker, Olive Branch Mayor Scott Phillips, Southaven Mayor Darren Musselwhite, and Horn Lake Mayor Alan Latimer took place at the Olive Branch Eye Care Center on Crumpler Boulevard.

The topics of discussion centered around education, attracting new jobs to North Mississippi, and development of an outlet mall in Southaven.

When asked why he paid the visit to DeSoto County, the Republican governor said Sen. Parker (R-District 19) invited him. The governor thinks highly of the new senator, who is also an optometrist. The luncheon seemed fitting to be held at the eye clinic.

“He loves DeSoto County,” the governor said of Sen. Parker. “He wrote a letter, he called, he was encouraging, and it’s his passion. He’s a small businessman and a senator, and Parker and the mayors agreed to come together.”

Gov. Bryant’s discussions with Sen. Parker and Mayor Latimer, there is talk in Horn Lake of a jobs training center being built.

“We talked to about putting together a school for workforce development using high school and community colleges and universities,” the governor said. “That’s a dynamic idea.”

In Southaven under new Mayor Musselwhite, the governor and Sen. Parker spoke about the planned outlet mall and help with attracting business there.

“The State has done things to help developments like that,” Sen. Parker said. “We help one in Pearl the last session. If the city needs our help I think the governor and myself are working hopefully to push some legislation.”

“There are many developers and businessmen and this county, and you just can’t stop a good entrepreneur,” Gov. Bryant said.

In Olive Branch new Mayor Phillips and the governor discussed new medical business setting up shop after Methodist Healthcare Hospital opened for business in August. They wouldn’t say what business it is.

“We have the opportunity to lead the healthcare industry in the Southeast here in DeSoto County,” Gov. Bryant said.

“Somewhat related to the hospital, we’ve gotten legislation through the governor’s office to attract medical developments to DeSoto County and hopefully some headquarters,” Sen. Parker added.

Read the full article here.


Parker Named to Five Senate Committees

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves has named Senator Dr. David Parker to five Senate committees: Public Health & Welfare, Judiciary-A, Housing, Economic Development and Elections.

“I’m pleased to be able to utilize my experience in patient services, and my understanding of how the healthcare sector functions both in caring for people and operating as a business, on the Public Health committee.  I opposed Obamacare.  Unfortunately it is the law and will radically change everything, but my background can serve patients and doctors and our at-risk communities like seniors to ensure Mississippi creates and maintains the best healthcare policies,” Parker said.

Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves said, “I’m confident Senator Parker will bring his experience and skills to these committees to help the Senate craft and pass conservative public policy to advance job creation and address the needs of our citizens for a better Mississippi.”

Parker noted his other committee assignments reflect the need to address critical issues for citizens and small businesses as well.

Parker said, “Judiciary-A will review tort reform and litigation issues to protect businesses and landowners; Economic Development will give me an opportunity to improve the climate for small business creation and expansion in DeSoto County; and the Housing Committee has oversight on issues vital to keeping smart growth in our community.”

Parker’s committee list can be found on his official state Senate web page: David Parker – Senate 19

Full Senate committee list here: 2013 Mississippi State Senate Committees



Thank You!

When I started this campaign, I told people that at my Church we are asked for support in the form of our prayers, presence, gifts and service.  I thought that was a good model for the campaign as well.  So I asked for prayers, votes, campaign contributions and volunteers.  The response was overwhelming and I attribute our victory to everyone who gave in those ways.  My family and I felt your prayers and they sustained us, we are thankful for your votes, we could not have run this campaign without your campaign contributions, and the long work by volunteers made the difference.  We are so thankful for all of you and all you did to make this election possible.  I will be in touch again soon about my work in the state Senate for DeSoto County and Mississippi.





Vote Today!

I want to thank so many of you for all your support, prayers and hard work to get us to this day.  Voters are at the polls and voting continues until 7:00pm.

Please remember to go vote today and ask your friends and family to go vote as well.

Not sure where you vote? You can look up your name using the DeSoto County Circuit Clerk’s online search tool here.

I’ll be out visiting volunteers waving signs and working at the voting precincts today and I hope to see you out there.

Thank-you again for your prayers and support for me and my family; it means a lot to us.


Dr. David Parker


Parker thanks Kevin Blackwell for Endorsement


Dr. David Parker thanks Kevin Blackwell for run-off endorsement

OLIVE BRANCH (November 19, 2012) – Dr. David Parker thanked Kevin Blackwell today for his endorsement in the November 27 run-off election for Senate District 19.

“I’ve really gotten to know Kevin during this campaign and appreciate his friendship and leadership.  He has served our community in many ways and I hope one day he and I can both serve in the legislature together to promote DeSoto County values.  I’m humbled by his endorsement and thankful for his support,” Parker said.

Parker continued, “Kevin has been so gracious to introduce me to many of his supporters and they’re already helping us get the word out to remind people to vote again on November 27.  After the recent election and with Thanksgiving coming up, a lot of people don’t know they have the opportunity to vote again.  Kevin and his team are working hard with my team to get the voters out again.”

Parker grew up in Southaven, owns and works as an Optometrist at Olive Branch Eyecare and recently announced a new eyecare clinic and commercial development in Horn Lake.  He and his wife Ashleigh and their four children live in Olive Branch and attend Getwell Road United Methodist Church.

Parker took 34% of the vote in the November 6 election with 10,396 votes.  Blackwell took 26% of the vote with 8,059 votes.  Parker faces Pat Nelson in a run-off election on Tuesday, November 27.  Nelson edged Blackwell by 248 votes to get into the run-off.

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 Paid for by Friends for David Parker