All in all, Gov. Mike Parson has served Missouri well during his first year in office.
When Parson took office June 1, 2018, the state of the state wasn’t good. The previous governor, Eric Greitens, had just resigned amid scandals. The Legislature had just completed a session in which it was sidetracked by a probe and the possibility that it would consider impeaching Greitens. Confidence in state government was flagging.
“There wasn’t a whole lot of communications between (my) lieutenant governor’s office and the (Greitens) governor’s office,” Parson told the News Tribune during a wide-ranging, 40-minute interview we wrote about last Sunday. “That day when I took office, we started walking through this entire complex, and it was empty desk after empty desk after empty desk.”
Parson, a lifelong cattle farmer, small business owner and former sheriff, had a big challenge to assemble quickly a staff and calm the troubled waters. We believe he’s succeeded with a leadership style that prioritizes hard work and Midwestern values over flashy political posturing.
Among other things, Parson has:
• Streamlined workforce development, creating a one-stop-shop approach that will help workers attain needed skills in our state.
• Guided a $300 million infrastructure package through the legislative process to help with needed bridge repairs.
• Worked to protect the lives of the unborn by signing a controversial bill that criminalizes abortion after eight weeks of pregnancy. Time will tell whether the new law meets constitutional muster, but Parson’s action stays true to his pro-life values.
• Collaborated with local and federal agencies alike to deal with crises stemming from recent tornadoes and flooding. (The morning after the tornado in Jefferson City, Parson was assessing damage along Ellis Boulevard with members of his team.)
• Worked cooperatively with the Legislature on the state’s $30 billion budget so that he was able to sign the budget bills with no line-item vetoes or withholds.
• Convinced lawmakers to include money in the state budget for state employee pay raises, especially increasing pay for corrections officers in state prisons.
Parson isn’t perfect; we’ve taken issue with some of his actions. But we also believe he has done much good for out state in the past year, not the least of which is steadying our state in a time of upheaval.
One question left unanswered by Parson is whether he will seek election to the office that he inherited last year. We believe he’s served our state well and would welcome him as a candidate in 2020.