She is a woman who’s been tested under pressure again and again. Catherine Parker was already a spouse, mother, accomplished business owner, and successful organizer when she took her first oath of office 12 years ago; Nine months pregnant at the time, she never missed a meeting.
Courted by both major political parties for her revival and leadership of the local Chamber of Commerce and League of Women Voters, Parker lifted the Democratic Party banner despite a rising Republican tide and survived through subsequent elections as the sole Democrat on her City Council. She then helped engineer a regional Democratic comeback by becoming a County Legislator and the Majority leader in Westchester County’s first legislative supermajority.
Parker’s political victories include banning single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam containers, establishing an Office of Energy and Sustainability, funding flood control projects, a countywide immigration protection law, a wage theft law, a displaced workers law, and funding for indigent legal services and child care that benefits the most vulnerable populations. All this at a time when property taxes in Westchester went DOWN for the first time in years.
Westchester County Executive George Latimer credits Parker as the inspiration for his successful run for County Executive. State Senator Alessandra Biaggi cites Parker’s early endorsement of her insurgent candidacy as a pivotal moment in her political career. Catherine’s willingness to take that stand in defiance of powerful party bosses put her political career at risk. Her mother, husband, children, friends, and colleagues all use the same word to describe her: “fearless.” She counts retiring Rep. Nita Lowey as a friend and mentor but has never shied away from challenging her on individual issues. “Nita is a champion,” she says, “but I am my own woman.”
Catherine Parker was born and raised in Mount Kisco, NY, the same town where her immigrant grandfather once delivered milk by horse-drawn sleigh. Her father abandoned the family when she was an infant. As a result, Catherine grew up in the care of strong women: her mother, a public school science teacher; and her grandmother, a nurse. She started working at the age of 13 and became interested in political activism at 15. She graduated from Fox Lane High School and has a degree in American Studies from Providence College in Rhode Island.
Her successful small business, a travel and lifestyle shop called “Parker’s”, thrived in downtown Rye for 23 years before closing in 2018. As she runs for Congress, Catherine Parker continues to serve Westchester’s 7th Legislative District where she lives with her husband David, a massage therapist, and her two children Julia and Aiden.