Political activist and social policy consultant Star Parker concluded her speech on welfare and public policy reform to a standing ovation at Marietta College's Fenton Court Wednesday night.
"I like her thoughts and the initiative she has taken in the public arena," said Marietta resident Sherry Adams.
As the president and founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit think tank that promotes market-based public policy to fight poverty, Parker consults with Republican legislators on numerous urban issues and is a strong proponent of completely doing away with current welfare programs.
Social and political activist Star Parker talks with people following her Wednesday night speaking engagement at Marietta College. Parker is an advocate of smaller government, decreased spending, and a return to traditional values.
The Marietta Times
"People have to stop believing this lie of the left that the poor are poor because the wealthy are wealthy," said Parker.
Parker grew up impoverished in a single parent household. She relied on welfare for several years before personal responsibility and a new-found faith motivated her to better her situation. Parker openly referenced details of her troubled past, including dalliances with crime and promiscuity, in hopes that her story will motivate others as well.
"If it can help somebody get on track a little bit earlier than I did, then I have done a good thing," said Parker.
- Founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), a non-profit think tank that promotes public policy to fight poverty.
- Ran for a seat in California's 37th District in 2010, and though she did not win, she more than doubled Republican votes in the district.
- Has appeared on Larry King Live, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and The View.
- Is a regular commentator on CNN, TBN, CSPAN, CBN, and Fox News.
Parker appeared as part of Marietta College's 2012 Point of View series. The series was founded by Marietta residents Bill and Prudence Fields in 2003 and has featured several speakers since its inception.
"We wanted to offer more conservative points of view than what normally came to campus," said Bill Fields.
Smaller government, decreased spending, and a return to traditional values were all points that Parker emphasized.
"At the center of the current economic crisis, is government dependency," she said to a loud round of applause from the crowd, which numbered around 130 people.
Marietta College freshman Kayla Ventura found Parker's messages to be refreshingly honest.
"It was like she was what a lot of us were afraid to say," said Ventura.
Khadine Ritter, a Marietta resident and local attorney, thought Parker was a phenomenal speaker.
"It is the idea that the poor community continues to buy into this lie...that the government is their only way of surviving," said Ritter about what most resonated with her about the speech.
Parker maintained a strong belief that the welfare system is a dangerous cycle that traps people by instilling in them a belief that they will not succeed on their own and must therefore continue to be reliant on government assistance.
One program Parker is in favor of is a more expansive school voucher program, where parents can choose what school their children attend. Currently the demand for a voucher program far exceeds its availability, she said.
"Money should follow children to their parents' school of choice," said Parker.
Parker notably ran for the Republican Congressional seat in California's notoriously Democratic 37th District in 2010. Though she did not win the seat, she more than doubled Republican votes in the district, said Marietta College President Joseph Bruno during his introduction of Parker.