How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.

Share this article!

0914 downtime MG 0020-2BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

“I’ve had a lot of different careers and a lot of different opportunities to try new experiences,” says Rep. Julie Parrish (R-West Linn). A member of the House Committee on Education and House Committee on Transportation and Economic Development, Parrish is also CEO of PIP Communications, a data management service, and a self-described “soccer mom with a minivan.” The native Oregonian lives in West Linn with her husband, Mark, and their three sons: Max, 14, Tucker, 12, and Gage, 11. “We also have a boy dog,” says Parrish, “so there’s a lot of testosterone in our house.”

0914 downtime-ills-0914-1Single minded
“I describe myself as someone who is tenacious. I don’t give up on the things I care about, and I’m not afraid to work hard and to work long hours. My husband would say that I am loyal, probably unfailingly so, even if it’s not in my best interest to be. I really do believe in people, and I believe strongly that you have to give people their best chance in life.”

0914 downtime-ills-0914-2Savvy shopper
“I recently sold a company called Coupon Girl — we ran coupon forums online for women. I consider myself a ‘couponer’; it’s been one of those things where we’ve been able to save a huge chunk of money, which, when you’re raising three boys and they eat you out of house and home, it’s critical. I used to track [my coupon savings] in a spreadsheet, and over five years we saved $55,000.”

0914 downtime-ills-0914-3New school
“If you’re a poor, low-income, minority child locked into a failing school in Portland and you want out of that school, it is very difficult to find another pathway to a better education. How do we solve the challenges of having the lowest education outcomes in the state? How do we make sure kids are feeling connected to the material? I think we’ve lost instilling the love of learning in our kids. I think it’s time to think of how we do education and how to do it differently.”

0914 downtime-ills-0914-4Homefront
“When my husband was deployed to Iraq, one of the things that helped us get through that year was having a lot of adventures planned for the kids to make time go faster. I loaded up the children into the minivan and drove them to Alaska. It was an amazing time and a lifetime opportunity experience that probably would not have come, frankly, if my husband had not been deployed. I wouldn’t have picked up the kids by myself and said, ‘We’re going to Alaska!’”

0914 downtime-ills-0914-5Problem solver
“I view public policies as a puzzle: finding all the pieces to the puzzle and putting them together. I thrive in that kind of environment, and public policymaking is that: building coalitions and working toward an idea and selling that idea. It’s very entrepreneurial, because once your idea has passed, you’re on to the next one. So being someone who’s a serial entrepreneur — being a lawmaker has that same kind of intensity.”