Gina Parker

Parker

Gina Parker is an attorney, a businesswoman and a Republican Party activist. She is a former prosecutor, a former beauty queen, and now, she wants to be a judge on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

Describing herself as a “constitutional conservative,” Parker is running against Judge Bert Richardson for Place 3 on the state’s highest criminal court.

“I have been active in statewide politics,” Parker said. “I served at the state party level as associate general counsel and state party treasurer. I was on the ballot security committee and I have statewide contacts. It is going to be important to get out the vote in 2020, and I have grassroots political involvement and connections. I think I will be a real asset to the Republican ticket.”

Parker, who quoted former First Lady Nancy Reagan by saying, “ladies never reveal their age,” graduated from Baylor University in 1983. She was crowned Miss Waco in 1984 and participated in the Miss Texas Pageant during her first quarter at Baylor Law School.

Most recently, Parker sought the gubernatorial appointment to replace 10th Court of Appeals Justice Al Scoggins, a nod that went to Judge John Neill, of Johnson County, in January.

Parker also ran unsuccessfully for state Republican Party chairwoman and served as a commissioner and eventual chairwoman of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation for nine years. She also served as national judicial reform chairwoman for the National Eagle Forum.

Parker said she has been encouraged to run by her attorney friends and others on both sides of the political spectrum.

“That, to me, is the best stamp of approval you can have when members of the bar, some Democrat attorney friends and some Republican attorney friends, say you will make an excellent judge because you will be fair and balanced and you will do the right thing,” Parker said. “That is really encouraging because that is the most important characteristic for a judge — that they are fair and impartial and follow the law. That I can make a firm commitment to.”

Parker, who is married to Dr. Kevin Kallal, a physician with a family practice in Keller, has been a licensed attorney since 1986 and worked three years as an assistant county attorney in Bell County and a year as a McLennan County prosecutor before opening her own practice in 1991. Parker lists her areas of practice as auto and trucking accident cases, criminal defense law, business law and general civil cases.

She also has owned Dental Creations since 2001, a company that manufactures products for use in dental labs and offices. Parker said she has used her dental business as a mission of sorts to give people with criminal records a second chance in the workforce and to improve the financial situation of women who have been abused.

“It’s really exciting when you give someone with a felony record a second chance,” she said.

Richardson was elected to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in 2014. He served as an assistant district attorney for Bexar County and an assistant U.S. attorney. He was appointed judge of the 379th State District Court of Bexar County in 1999.

He is perhaps best known in McLennan County as the judge who was appointed to hear the application for writ of habeas corpus filed by convicted murderer Darlene Gentry.

Richardson presided over several lengthy hearings in Gentry’s appeal but did not issue an opinion in the case until seven years later, three years after he had been elected to the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Richardson recommended that Gentry should be denied a new trial, and the Court of Criminal Appeals, which ordered the writ hearings, agreed.

Gentry is serving 60 years in prison in the November 2005 shooting death of her husband, Waymon Keith Gentry, the father of her three sons.

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Staff writer at the Waco Tribune-Herald covering courts and criminal justice. Follow me on Twitter @TSpoonFeed.

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