Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has teased Sept. 8 as a “special day” for those who support him and want to see him remain at the helm of the state.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the people who have come up and offered support,” Parson, a Republican, said during an appearance on This Week in Missouri Politics while at the Missouri State Fair in Sedalia. “I believe we’re on the right track [for] Missouri, I believe in the leadership we’re doing, and the team we’ve put together.”
Parson took over as Missouri’s chief executive in June 2018 following the resignation of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens. Although he hasn’t officially announced his candidacy for governor, he has started building his campaign team; Parson named Steele Shippy, his former communications director, as his campaign manager earlier this month.
“We’re looking forward to Sept. 8 and making a little announcement about that. It’s game on,” Parson said. “I’m going to be the governor of the state of Missouri, I’m going to work real hard at that, I’m going to focus on that, but there won’t be anybody working any harder than I will on the campaign.”
State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat, formally declared her gubernatorial candidacy last week. In her video announcement, Galloway didn’t mention Parson by name but criticized his administration and the soon-to-be-enacted abortion law he signed earlier this year. She also slammed so-called “dark money” that flows in Jefferson City.
In response to some of Galloway’s critiques, Parson vowed to run a positive and self-focused campaign.
“When you take an oath to serve the people of Missouri, you have to be real careful that you don’t get your oath mixed up with politics. And if you start to run politics out of your office, I think that’s a recipe for trouble,” Parson said. “What I would do and … will do as a candidate, I’ll talk about Mike Parson, the success I’ve been, and why I make a good governor.”
“I think you’re going to hear a lot about the background and remind people and try to let Missourians know who we are,” he continued. “We come in a tough time in this state to be governor. There was a lot of things going on in this state that needed to be settled out. From day one, we tried to do that, we tried to set the example, and it’s important to me to lead by example.”
Parson signed a Senate bill in May — set to go into effect Aug. 28 — which is meant to block local governments from enacting rules for agricultural operations stricter than those already imposed at the state level.
SB 391, championed by Republican Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, will greatly impact concentrated animal feeding operations — otherwise known as CAFOs. Proponents argued the legislation would be beneficial to farmers by cutting red tape and creating more uniform standards. Opponents, however, have harped on the bill stripping away local governments’ control and autonomy.
Hurst said the “law is very clear” and should be able to withstand legal challenges. The governor agreed, adding: “We need some sort of regulatory requirement that’s even for every county or producer. It’s really the state’s role to regulate that.”
Missouri has a number of cattle, hog, and poultry operations which fall under the definition of a CAFO. As far as experts are aware, the Show-Me State has no qualifying sheep farms.
The pair also stressed the importance of expanding access to rural broadband in Missouri to improve education and healthcare.
“Yes, it’s more expensive to take things to rural Missouri, but everyone has a right to live where they live, and we should be able to provide those services,” Parson said.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a reporter with The Missouri Times and The Missouri Times Magazine. She joined the newspaper in 2019 after working as a reporter for Fox News in New York City. Throughout her career, Kaitlyn has covered political campaigns across the U.S. and humanitarian aid efforts in Africa. She is a native of Missouri who studied journalism at Winthrop University in South Carolina. Contact Kaitlyn at firstname.lastname@example.org.