Meet the Candidate:

Melissa Parker

I grew up in a small town in Washington. I understand what community means. Among other things, it means that community members are interconnected and individual cases and actions impact the entire community.

I came to Salem for law school and it has been my adopted home for more than a decade. I chose law school as a way to help people like those I knew in my community; people for whom economic struggle and lack of opportunity often led to poor choices that put them into the criminal justice system. During law school I worked at the Marion County District Attorney’s office for two years, applying the rules of law and recommending appropriate consequences on an impartial basis. I have also spent years working as a court appointed criminal defense attorney. I have seen both sides of the criminal justice system and understand the priorities and struggles on both sides.

MVLC 2017 Awards Banquet

I graduated from law school and opened my own law office during the economic downturn in January 2011. The first few years were a challenge that taught me the importance of budgeting, efficiency, and working with limited resources. I was able to run my business at a profit from the very first year because of these principles, and as my business grew those principles remain unchanged. 

My commitment to the Salem community extends beyond the justice system. In my role as Board President at the Mid-Valley Literacy Center I have helped expand the size and sustainability of the Center to provide GED and English language services to adults in the Salem area.

As an adjunct professor at Willamette University College of Law, I have helped students from other nations understand our laws and legal system. I believe that we are all connected and need to invest in one another. To that end, I have also been a youth soccer coach with the Salem Keizer Educational Foundation, despite having no kids in the program. I have volunteered with the teen court program through the Salem Boys and Girls Club, and judged mock trial competitions for West Salem High School Street Law program and Willamette University College of Law. From all of these experiences I find that, regardless of varying circumstances, people are more alike than different and all deserve to be treated with equal respect and fairness. Those are the principles I will bring to the Salem Municipal Court. 

Salem deserves a Municipal Court that satisfies the needs of the community. The court must operate in a fair and consistent manner for everyone that interacts with it.  I have worked on both sides of the justice system and understand how to evaluate the interests of both. I own my law practice and know how to run an efficient and productive organization. From experience I recognize that the justice system only works when it is applied fairly, with consistent standards, practices, and expectations for those who come before it.  Salem deserves that. I will ensure that. 



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