New York State Assembly- 3rd District Candidate Clyde Parker
Businessman and activist Clyde Parker, a resident of Bellport, is running to fill Dean Murray’s vacated seat in the New York State Assembly for the 3rd District. He will be running on the Democratic ticket.
Parker, 71, lives in Bellport but is originally from Oklahoma. He has lived in the district for over 20 years with his wife, Angelika, who he married 40 years ago. They have three children and five grandchildren. He said his old-school upbringing in Oklahoma, and lessons learned from family life on his farm, were what shaped his views today.
“We were always giving,” he said. “It was just something we did.”
Parker is hoping to be a truly local voice for the district, which he said is dealing with water quality issues, the opioid crisis, and homelessness, among other issues.
Parker enlisted in the United States Army at 18. He was stationed in Germany as a medical supply specialist. When he returned from duty after serving three years, Parker pursued a business degree at Oklahoma Central State College. He then went back to Germany to open a boutique for soldiers. He said he wanted to create something that allowed African-American soldiers to express their fashion sense, but the native Germans also were enjoying the pure-‘70s clothing. When he moved back to the U.S. in the 1970s, he and his wife opened five designer shoe stores in New York City, while Parker also took over as general manager of a large shoe retailer in Germany. After several choices of where he could end up, he chose New York and hasn’t left since.
He’s never held political office, but has always been involved in whatever community he has been in. In New York, he started a tenants association at a building where he lived and used that influence to improve the structure of the apartments and the quality of life for residents.
His days of advocacy go back to high school, he said, where he would sometimes get into fights with others while trying to defend someone who was the victim of bullying or mistreatment.
“I’m always running my mouth,” he said. He added that friends and family who have seen his community involvement have been encouraging him to run for something. He initially was going to run against Dean Murray for the state Senate seat, but ceded that race to Monica Martinez.
Parker is looking to break away from the national political stigma that has developed over the past decade. He said he wants to bring people together to talk about local issues that impact the everyday lives of district residents. If he gets to Albany, one of his main goals would be to tackle a solution for sensible gun reform. He said his upbringing in Oklahoma, a state with more relaxed gun laws, allowed him to have a balanced view of the issue. He also wants to work to end corruption in the state government, saying that elected officials should be there solely to work for the constituents.
Another goal is to help improve the healthcare system, which he said is broken throughout the country. His time in Europe has inspired him, and he wants to take some of those ideas to improve healthcare in New York and the United States. He added that the country is in need of reorganization, and he supports a Medicare-for-all solution.
Parker said one of his best strengths is communication, and believes that opening up more lines of communication between elected officials, government agencies, and the people can have important effects on the efficiency of government. Also, he said, it’s a way to improve relationships between people, which he said have been straining over constant political feuds.
“I think the things I’ve learned over the years will help me a lot once I get into office,” he said.
He added that he is concerned with people voting on party lines, rather than on individual needs. “Vote your conscience,” he said as a message to voters. “Vote for what is right for where you live.”
Parker was nominated this summer and has since been traveling the district to build his case for the Nov. 6 election. For more information, visit www.timeforclyde.com.
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