JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Last week, as flooding affected the southern portion of the state, several statewide officeholders, from Gov. Eric Greitens to State Auditor Nicole Galloway, helped fill sandbags and visit those affected by the rising waters.
Lt. Gov. Parson took a different tack, guiding his office to reach out to leaders in flooded areas and coordinating efforts between different local governments. He cited his time as Polk County Sheriff as the reason for this approach to the state’s floods.
“It went back to the old days of my time in law enforcement, handling situations over the years,” Parson said. “You understand… how devastating that was for so much of our state where you had record breaking floods and water, and I just think it was important to reach out and say, ‘We care and what is it we can do from the lt. governor’s office.’”
Parson’s office spoke with 52 counties, at least 30 sheriffs and multiple chiefs of police and emergency management officials, providing communication, coordination and information of what was occurring in other parts of the state.
The lt. governor also said he worked with the governor’s office and was able to to make progress with some of his staff to address the flooding problems.
“I personally have reached out to the governor’s office on several occasions,” Parson said. “The response was great, and we were able to take care of the problems that existed through his office. They got back in a very timely fashion and we were able to resolve the issues we talked about.”
From Parson, his role in the last week also showed a more proactive effort from the office of the lt. governor. The office has little defined role, only to preside over the Senate, but Parson also acts the second highest elected official in the state. To him, that means he has a certain level of responsibility.
And it’s one he will look to continue to adhere to in the following weeks as the state deals with the fall out while floodwaters recede.
“The most important thing to realize now is what kind of job is left out there,” Parson said. “The reality of it always comes the weeks after. What do you need to do to fix it? How do you clean it up? Those become the big issues when the dust settles a little bit, who’s left there? You’ve got to pick up all of the pieces and put them all back together.”