By Debbie Siegelbaum - 04/25/12 11:24 PM EDT
Title: Communications director
Education: M.S. in public relations from Boston University, B.A. in history from Brandeis University, B.M. in vocal performance from The Boston Conservatory
Last job: Communications director for Rep. Betty Sutton (D-Ohio)
Biggest communications success: Defeating the incumbent Michigan Supreme Court chief justice in 2008, which was called a “stunning upset” by The Detroit News and “the upset of the decade” by the Gongwer News Service.
Best communications advice you’ve received: Your credibility is everything. Don’t engage in speculation. If you don’t know the answer to a reporter’s question, tell them you will find out and get back to them — and then make sure to do so.
Most embarrassing moment on Capitol Hill: Once, when I was interning in Sen. [Edward] Kennedy’s [D-Mass.] press office, he actually called himself … I didn’t recognize his voice right away and asked, “Who may I say is calling?” and he replied sternly in his booming baritone voice, “It’s the senator.” I immediately apologized, “Sorry, Senator, I didn’t recognize it was you!” and got his press secretary for him.
Interests outside of work: Playing softball in the DCJCC league (on the Hebrew Nationals); going to Washington Nationals and Washington Capitals games; going to classical, rock and jazz concerts; attending plays at the Shakespeare and Woolly Mammoth theaters; exploring all the museums and sites in D.C.; playing board games with friends and family; and traveling around the U.S. and Europe.
Eric Parker’s voice is being heard, but in a very different way than he first expected. The one-time vocalist has friends who pursued careers in musical theater, opera, television and movies, but a love of politics drove him in an entirely different direction.
“I’ve always had an interest in politics, [but] I didn’t quite know how to put it together somehow with what I wanted to do,” he said, noting his degrees in public relations, history and vocal performance.
Parker credits some very helpful professors with pushing him in the right direction, which today allows him to ensure lawmakers’ messages come through loud and clear.
“I want to be up here for the next 20 years or so,” he said, convinced he chose a great career path. “Here I can work on a number of issues.”
That doesn’t mean he’s forgotten his first love. But finding time for singing can prove problematic when dealing with the frenetic pace of Congress.
“Hopefully I can find some time in my schedule to start taking [vocal] lessons again,” he said.
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