The father of a on-air reporter who killed during a live TV report in 2015 has announced he plans to run for Congress.
Andy Parker, 68, said he will run as a Democrat in Virginia‘s 5th District against Republican freshman Congressman Bob Good, who he called the ‘Marjorie Taylor Greene of Virginia’ and says its rhetoric is harmful. The gun control advocate is also calling for social media reform.
‘This district is not being represented the way it should be,’ Parker told CBS News before he launched his campaign.
‘Since Alison was killed, I’ve always tried to honor her life through action. Given the atmosphere we face right now, this is the time to jump in and make a difference.’
In 2015, Parker’s 24-year-old daughter Alison Parker and her cameraman colleague Adam Ward, 27, were filming a live segment for local Virginia station WDBJ-TV when they were shot dead by former co-worker Vester Lee Flanagan II, 41, who then went on the run before committing suicide.
In addition to the footage that was broadcast live through Ward’s own camera, Flanagan also filmed his attack using a GoPro and uploaded it that day on social media.
Andy Parker has since become a huge advocate for gun control and has rallied to reform Section 230, a law that protects social media companies from lawsuits over content on their platforms.
Last year, he filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to hold Facebook, now called Meta, accountable for still allowing the graphic video of his daughter’s murder to circulate on its platforms six years later.
Andy Parker (pictured) announced he is planning on running for Congress as a Democrat in Virginia’s 5th District against Republican freshman Congressman Bob Good
Following his daughter Alison’s shooting death, Parker has since become a huge advocate for gun control and has rallied to reform Section 230 (pictured with Alison)
Good (pictured) has voted against the electoral certification on January 6 and bipartisan infrastructure bill, and has spread misinformation about masks and vaccines, Parker said
‘Since Alison was killed, I’ve always tried to honor her life through action,’ Andy Parker said of his daughter, pictured
He accused the company of profiting from the footage of his daughter’s murder.
‘Posting content, violent content and murder on social media is not free speech, it’s savagery,’ he said in October 2021.
‘And as you all know, Alison’s murder shared on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube is just one of the egregious practices that are undermining the fabric of our society.’
Andy Parker said he wanted to take his fight for social media reform to Congress after exhausting his options as a private citizen.
‘It’s tough for anybody, for one out of four hundred plus members to do anything. But I think I’ve got a better chance at pushing that issue,’ he said.
Andy Parker says he is running against Good because he has supported the spread of misinformation online.
The Republican, elected in 2020, voted against the electoral certification of President Joe Biden on January 6 and later, the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and has spread misinformation about masks and vaccines, Parker told CBS.
In a statement, Good said he’s done ‘what I said I would do when first running for Congress in 2020, and have been on the front line fighting for our nation’s founding principles and against the Democrats’ radical leftist agenda.’
Good added he has also introduced bills against the ‘unconstitutional mandates, open borders, runaway federal spending and efforts to indoctrinate our kids at school against the will of parents.’
Andy and his wife Barbara Parker, pictured mourning the loss of their daughter in 2015
Alison Parker, 24, and her cameraman colleague Adam Ward, 27, (pictured together) were shot dead live on air by their former coworker Vester Lee Flanagan II in 2015
In addition to the footage that was broadcast live through Ward’s own camera, Flanagan also filmed his attack using a GoPro and uploaded it that day on social media
Parker said one of the main reasons he is running is because of Good’s harmful rhetoric.
‘When he’s not wasting time to try and overturn lawful elections and opposing repairs for roads and bridges, he busies himself pushing dangerous vaccine conspiracy theories and divisive and extreme politics,’ he told CBS News.
Although he is running as a Democrat in a Republican-leaning district, Parker says he feels he has a chance to win people over and is willing to work with ‘reasonable Republicans’
‘I just feel there’s a lot of buyer’s remorse out there,’ he said, adding he was once a self-described ‘Reagan Republican’ who voted Republican until 2008.
Parker’s campaign team includes high profile staff members, including a former media consultant for former President Obama’s presidential campaigns and a campaign manager for Democrat John Kerry’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential bid, CBS News reported.
Also on his team is Chris Hurst, his late daughter’s boyfriend and former Virginia state representative.
Parker says he is is ‘absolutely prepared’ for his daughter’s murder to be brought up during his run.
‘Nothing that they can do or say compares to losing your child, to losing your hopes and dreams,’ he said. ‘There’s no candidate that I’m aware of running for Congress that has a running mate. Well, I do. And she’s going to be with me every step of the way.’
Also on Parker’s team is Chris Hurst, his late daughter’s boyfriend and former Virginia state representative (pictured with Alison)
Last year Parker filed a complaint with the FTC to hold Facebook accountable for allowing the graphic video of his daughter’s murder to circulate on its platforms
The footage of Alison Parker’s murder was widely spread online by conspiracy theorists who claimed the footage was a hoax.
Flanagan attacked his ex-colleagues live on air during a lighthearted segment where ward was filming Parker as she interviewed Vicki Gardner – then-executive director of the Smith Mountain Lake Chamber of Commerce – about a local event.
The TV footage shows the look of horror on Parker’s face as gunshots ring out and the camera falls to the floor, revealing the killer standing over Ward, pointing a gun at him.
The producer finally cut the feed broadcasting the ambush on live TV, returning to the stunned news anchor back in the studio.
Flanagan’s footage shows his arm outstretched in front of him pointing a gun before opening fire as Parker tries to flee before being shot.
Gardner was also shot and injured in the attack but survived.
Flanagan, a former general assignment reporter at the network, posted the footage he filmed on social media immediately after executing his former colleagues.
He also took to Twitter to air his grievances against the reporter and cameraman.
He claimed that Parker made ‘racist comments’ and that a complaint was filed against her through the equal employment opportunity commission, but that WDBJ chose to hire her anyway.