Linda Parks was born in Los Angeles, California. Her mother managed a bookstore her father was a voice actor and was the voice of Smokey Bear. Parks earned her Bachelor of Arts in political science at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1980. Parks earned her Masters in Urban Planning from the University of Washington 1982.
Parks worked as a transportation planner for private, public and non-profit companies including, Transportation Management Services, Commuter Transportation Service, and the City of Ventura with her transportation planning work included in the 1984 Summer Olympics and the Getty Museum.
Parks began her efforts to preserve the Ahmanson Ranch from development in 1987 which culminated in the land's purchase by the State of California in 2003.
She was appointed to the Thousand Oaks Planning Commission in 1993 and cast votes in favor of the Amgen Campus, and the Promenande Shopping Center. During this period she wrote the Parks Initiative that was made into law in the City of Thousand Oaks protecting city parks and open space by vote of the people.
Parks was elected to the City Council in 1996 with the highest number of votes in the city's history. During her tenure, she created the concept for a hands-on children museum and helped found the Discovery Center. Following the successful defeat of a 1997 recall election, Parks helped write the City's first campaign finance ordinance.
In 1998, Parks teamed with Steve Bennett and Richard Francis leading the successful initiative drives for SOAR, Save Open-space and Agricultural Resources, which stopped urban sprawl in Ventura County. SOAR preserves farmland and open space in the county from changes in zoning designations without the approval of the electorate.
Parks ran for re-election in 2000 with the late Edward Masry, the environmental attorney featured in the movie Erin Brokovich. She again won with the highest numbers of votes in the city's history
Parks ran for a seat on the Ventura County Board of Supervisors in 2002 while voluntarily limiting her campaign contributions to $500 per person; at that time, there were no limits to the amount of money a candidate could accept. Her opponent, Randy Hoffman, accepted $90,000 from a single developer in the county. Her win helped usher in the County's campaign finance ordinance which put a maximum limit on contributions.
Parks helped negotiate a settlement with the Ventura County Sheriff and District Attorney, which led to the reopening of the East County Jail, and eliminated 200 positions from the County payroll to balance the County’s budget. She successfully added synchronized traffic signals to Santa Rosa Valley and opened a long-awaited park using park bond money.
Parks was re-elected in 2006, established two Municipal Advisory Councils, a Fire Safe Council and led the way to convert an appointed water and sanitation district to an all-elected body (Triunfo Sanitation District) making it more accountable to the ratepayers. Parks also began a series of Senior Summits that are conferences on senior citizen needs and services, and provides a Veterans Services office in her office location.
She also led the effort to bring the County’s Human Services Agency including employment service assistance to the Under One Roof building owned by Community Conscience in Thousand Oaks, and has championed mental health services for the severely mentally ill during her ten years as a member of the Ventura County Mental Health Board.
In 2010, Parks ran for re-election and faced Audra Strickland. Despite Parks being a registered Republican, the Ventura County Republican Central Committee funded Strickland's campaign in "communications" to households with at least one registered Republican, which skirted the County's limit of $700 per person. Despite being substantially outspent, Parks defeated Strickland in a landslide victory, running ahead by more than 20 percentage points - 21,827 to 13,789. Following this, the Board revised its campaign finance ordinance.
Parks launched her campaign for the newly redrawn California's 26th congressional district in January 2012, following the announcement that Republican Congressman Elton Gallegly would not seek re-election. With the open primary, where the top two candidates advance to the November elections regardless of political party affiliation, Parks has registered as 'no party preference'. The Los Angeles Times endorsed Linda Parks over the other 5 candidates running for the 26th California Congressional District.