Born: August 6, 1934 Port Arthur, TX.
Carl Parker was born on August 6, 1934, to H.A. and Juanita Christian Parker. His father was a Port Arthur mayor. Parker graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School and then attended the University of Texas. He earned his law degree from The University of Texas Law School in 1958. He later served in the U.S. Navy and Navy Reserves.
Elected as a Democratic member of the Texas House of Representatives, he was an active member of that body from 1962 to 1977. In the 1963 legislative session, he had no office of his own and kept files under his desk on the chamber floor. Parker was elected to the State Senate from 1977 to 1995. His tenures included time as Speaker Pro Tempore of the House and President Pro Tempore of the State Senate. Parker was the lead sponsor or co-sponsor of more than 400 bills that became Texas law. They included bills that created state jail standards, established Lamar State College Port Arthur and Orange, elevated Lamar University to its current university status, guaranteed equal legal rights for women in Texas, reformed worker compensation, mandated the use of infant car seats, and created the Port of Port Arthur. He was the Chairman of the Texas Education Committee for many years as well.
In 1979, Parker was a member of the Killer Bees, the group of twelve quorum-busting Texas Democratic senators that made national news for hiding out in an Austin garage apartment for 4½ days. Parker said afterward, "There was one toilet and one phone, and half of them kept wanting to trade the toilet for another telephone."
The group successfully killed a measure that would have established a March presidential primary separate from the state's May general primary to benefit John Connally, who was running against Ronald Reagan at the time for the Republican presidential nomination. "We are absent today because this is our only available positive way to defeat a proposed law which would create a rigged, presidential primary which the people of Texas do not want, did not ask for, and which would cost Texas citizens $5 million in hard-earned tax money," the senators said in a joint statement sent to the media. In response, Hobby issued an all-points bulletin for the absent members and discharged the DPS and Texas Rangers to get those members that are outside the Capitol.
In 1994 Carl was the seventh honored guest to sit through one of the Museum of the Gulf Coast "roasts" to raise money in support of the museum. Attended by Gov. Ann Richards (who was also one of the roasters), the event generated more than $100,000.
Renowned for his wit, Molly Ivens once quoted Parker as saying, "If you took all the fools out of the legislature, it wouldn't be a representative body anymore." He also stated that Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby had ". . . made a fatal error in calling us Killer Bees instead of SOBs."
Parker spent 32 years in the Legislature, and for over 60 years, has practiced law on local, state, national, and international levels. He is the managing attorney of The Parker Law Firm, which is headquartered in Port Arthur and also has an office in Austin near the Texas Capitol.