Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe made it official Monday evening — he's running in 2020 to serve a full term as lieutenant governor.
"This is a good place to be, and a good place to be from," Kehoe said at the campaign event in Memorial Park in Jefferson City where he made the announcement, surrounded by family, friends and other supporters, including Gov. Mike Parson.
Kehoe, who grew up near St. Louis, has lived and worked in Mid-Missouri for more than 30 years. In 2018, he was serving the last year of his term-limited eight-year term in the state Senate, representing the 6th District that includes Jefferson City, when Parson named him to be lieutenant governor.
Parson had been elected lieutenant governor in 2016, but the position was vacant once he became governor after Eric Greitens resigned in June 2018.
The state's Constitution tasks the lieutenant governor with becoming governor if the need arises, and to preside over the state Senate's debates, including to vote to break ties.
"You bring your work gloves, because we're going to work," Parson said of what he told Kehoe when he asked him to be lieutenant governor, adding Kehoe has not let him down.
Some aspects of Kehoe's campaign for lieutenant governor in 2020 have come directly from his campaigning for Senate — his slogan, "Leadership. Values. Common Sense." on the green T-shirts of his supporters, and the aid of his daughter, Carol, who said she worked on her dad's first Senate campaign and is now his campaign manager.
"Protecting innocent life is my number one priority," Kehoe said, speaking against abortion, but he also listed other priorities for the state — including preparing people for professional opportunities after high school, taking care of roads and bridges, serving veterans and preparing the state's agricultural capacity to be able to keep up with global demand.
Kehoe said his biggest accomplishment so far has been what he called his small part in helping to overhaul the Missouri Veterans Commission. He credited the commission's executive director Grace Link with having "literally changed around the entire department to really do a better job at our veterans homes, with our veteran service officers, taking care of our heroes."
He also pushed the "Buy Missouri" initiative that encourages Missourians to buy products made in the state.