Wildcat Tracks: Parker Briden ’13
For Parker Briden, serving on high-profile statewide political campaigns in Ohio, Nevada, Missouri, and Mississippi has taught him to be quick on his feet. “Every day is different. I’m on the phone or in meetings a lot more than I’m on my computer. I love that! You never know exactly what the day will bring,” Parker said. “The one constant is that somewhere, something is on fire. And it’s important to balance managing crises and moving the ball forward on your priorities.”
As the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, Parker has been on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Managing through these issues becomes the most important part of the job: historic natural disasters, large-scale riots, and political scandals. They all have unique challenges,” he said. “But COVID-19 was certainly the most consequential. Countless lives were disrupted, lost, or changed for good. That was really my daily focus for 2020 — as it was for the Governor. Nobody had a playbook, but we did everything we could to protect lives and livelihoods.”
Parker’s interest in politics began as a student at Westminster. “I’ve always loved politics and government — maybe because I love the adventure. It’s always something different. I took Newspaper with Scott Vonder Bruegge for all four years of high school. That was incredibly formative and fun. I learned things in our AP government classes with Ken Boesch that I still think back on all the time.”
“Dan Burke really taught me how to formulate an argument, which is most of what I do all day! Beyond that, all the examples of strong Christian leaders were incredibly meaningful.”
Parker was tapped to serve as the Governor’s Chief of Staff in September of 2021. Since then he has not only become a trusted advisor, he was recently voted to the Mississippi Top 50. This is an annual list of the people who are judged to be the most influential leaders in the state.
Looking toward the future, Parker sees himself maintaining his political role while aiding with integrity. “I’d like to keep helping good people win important elections, help tell stories for civic and business leaders, and bring order to chaos wherever I can. If that’s part of my future responsibilities, I’ll be thrilled, whatever form it takes.”