Birthdate: March 9, 1947
Birth Place: Athens, AR, United States
Residence: Fairfax County, VA
Religion: Church of Christ
Gail Parker was born in Athens, Ark., and raised in rural Oklahoma.
She earned a bachelor's in business administration from Central Oklahoma State University and a master's in business administration from Central Michigan University.
Parker retired as an officer in the U.S. Air Force Reserve. She is also a retired civilian employee of the Defense Department.
Parker resides in Fairfax County, Va.
Gail Parker is the most persistent and best-known also-ran in Virginia politics over the past half-dozen years. She's at it again in 2012.
Parker has run shoestring campaigns for public office since 2006 on the Independent Green Party ticket, never claiming more than a tiny sliver of the electorate.
Her platform _ more of an obsession _ is unchanging, dominated by her appeal to reset domestic economic and social policy as well as foreign policy through a massive increase in American rail transportation.
It's there in every brochure, speech, interview or ad as an essential part of her political branding: Gail "For Rail" Parker. Her perennial campaign slogan is equally direct: "More trains, less traffic."
Since she burst into Virginia politics with her low-budget, homespun campaigns, her races include two bids for the U.S. Senate, a run for Virginia's House of Delegates in 2009 and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2011.
This is her first U.S. House campaign.
She has become such a serial candidate that her website never mentions the office she is now seeking, making it easily interchangeable from year to year, office to office, campaign to campaign.
Parker's high water mark was her 2006 statewide race, before her novelty wore off in the media. She garnered 26,102 votes as a third candidate in a Virginia Senate race that gave Democrats control of the U.S. Senate for the first time in a dozen years. Her take was just over 1 percent of the nearly 2.4 million votes cast. But in that race, Democrat Jim Webb unseated Republican Sen. George Allen by 9,329 votes, less than four-tenths of a percentage point.
After the election, television funny man Stephen Colbert took note of Parker's vote total in the narrow, decisive race and sardonically attributed it to her comically corny campaign jingle. He lip-synched the song with lyrics superimposed on the screen, a bouncing ball keeping time with each word sing-along style: "Let's vote for Gail ... She's for light rail ... "
As of August 2012, Parker's campaign website still proudly displayed a link to the November 2006 "Colbert Report" send-up.
Unfazed, she ran for Senate again in 2008, taking barely one-half a percent of the nearly 3.6 million votes cast in Democratic former Gov. Mark Warner's rout over another former governor, Republican Jim Gilmore.
In 2012, Parker is one of two candidates challenging two-term Republican Rep. Rob Wittman's re-election. Democrat Adam Cook, also a first-time candidate, is also on the ballot. Parker, who lives in Fairfax County just outside of Alexandria, is the only 1st District candidate who resides well outside the district, but state law requires only that candidates for Congress be residents of the state in which the district lies.
Source: Associated Press