Public Service Commissioner to talk gender, politics

Susan Parker, a UA alumna and a member of the Alabama Public Service Commission who is currently seeking re-election, will speak about being a woman in a political environment and working in an elected position in the Ferguson Center Ballroom at 7 p.m.

Parker’s lecture is the third of four installments of the Women’s Political Initiative lecture series, co-hosted by the Student Government Association, Women’s Resource Center and the Honors College Assembly.

“The most important part of the Women’s Political Initiative is to get women on campus interested in politics,” said Jessica Kuperberg, director of the Women's Political Initiative. “We want the women on campus to see that there are women involved in both elected positions and support positions.”

Many people don’t realize that we have a fully function governing body at the University, Kuperberg said, and there are very few female senators compared to the number of males in the SGA.

Kuperberg is a member of the SGA’s external affairs cabinet and has worked in conjunction with SGA Vice President of External Affairs Grant Cochran for the Women’s Political Initiative.

Past speakers, Katie Boyd Britt and Natalie Davis, have worked in support positions and spoke about their involvement, Kuperberg said, though Parker is the first speaker in the lecture who holds an elected position.

“Susan Parker is someone who has been elected and has gone through the political process,” Kuperberg said. “We hope she will speak to the election process and how the election process is unique for women,” she said.

Parker lost to Rep. Jeff Sessions for a Senate seat in 2002 after being the first woman in Alabama to be nominated. She was elected to Alabama Public Service Commission in 2006, according to her profile on the Public Service Commission website.

“Susan Parker is a big up-and-coming name in Alabama state politics,” Kuperberg said. “She does a job that not many people know much about and shows us that you can start in a position where you know you can make a different and work your way up.”

The Women’s Political Initiative hopes to host another lecture in the spring with a nationally recognized political figure, Kuperberg said.

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