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Vernon Parker -- Department of Agriculture
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights

Vernon Parker was sworn in as assistant secretary for civil rights by Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman on April 1, 2003. In this position he ensures compliance with all civil rights and related laws by all agencies and under all programs of USDA and coordinates administration of civil rights laws and regulations within the Department for employees and participants in programs of USDA. A successful attorney and active citizen, Parker started his legal career in administrative law. Parker is actively involved in community work and volunteerism. Most recently, Parker answered the call of his community to serve his church in Paradise Valley, Ariz. as the interim senior pastor. He has served the Salvation Army on its National Board of Directors and on the Greater Phoenix Salvation Army Advisory Board. He has also served on the Board of Directors of the Christian Family Care Agency and as a member of Arizona State University's Board of Community Alliance for Black Student Support. His career in administrative law and Equal Employment Opportunity issues, combined with his passion for improving society by bringing different interests together, well prepared him for his current position at USDA. In 1988, after receiving his B.S. degree in finance from California State University, Parker received his J.D. from the Georgetown University Law Center. While there, he served as editor-in-chief of the Georgetown American Criminal Law Review. Parker took his first position in the federal government as counselor to the director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). He was simultaneously the director of policy for OPM. Two years into his career with OPM, he was appointed general counsel. As such, Parker worked with and familiarized himself with every branch of the federal government. He implemented policies on various administrative issues ranging from civil rights, to federal employees' health care, to government contract and procurement issues. In 1992, Parker accepted an opportunity to serve in the White House as special assistant to the President. Here, he was responsible for the staffing and policy review of over 300 Presidential boards and commissions, including, but not limited to, the African Development Foundation, the President's Commission on Small Business, the United States Trade Representative Board on International Trade, the President's Export Council, and the United States Holocaust Memorial Council.

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