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Kehoe takes over as acting governor while Parson ‘effectively absent’ on vacation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe assumed the role of acting governor Sunday while Missouri’s chief executive is on a personal vacation. 

Gov. Mike Parson and the first lady are taking a vacation from June 23 to July 2, a spokeswoman for the governor confirmed. During that time, as Parson is considered to be “effectively absent,” Kehoe is serving as acting governor. 

In a letter to Kehoe, Parson said he believed “it is in the best interest of the State of Missouri” to elevate his second-in-command since he will be traveling outside the country. Kehoe will need express written consent from Parson to sign bills, issue executive orders, grant pardons or commutations, make appointments, or call the Missouri National Guard to active duty, Parson said. 

Parson did give Kehoe permission to sign a few pieces of legislation into law, including SB 275, a healthcare bill that changes how dentists can prescribe certain opioids to treat acute pain; SB 397, which extends the petition process for the creation of a museum or cultural district; and HB 612, a bill that transfers the Missouri State Council on the Arts to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. 

Parson also gave written permission to Kehoe to sign an executive order establishing the Missouri Food, Beverage, and Forest Products Manufacturing Task Force as well as the ability to appoint individuals to the Missouri Route 66 Centennial Commission. 

While Kehoe serves as acting governor, he will be able to be paid at the same salary level as the governor from the appropriations to the Governor’s Office, Parson said. 

Parson left for Europe earlier this month for his first overseas trade mission as Missouri’s governor. He traveled to France, Germany, and Switzerland to meet with global business leaders and bolster the Show-Me State to potential new businesses. 

Parson appointed Kehoe to lieutenant governor in June 2018. He previously served as a state senator where he held a variety of leadership positions — from majority floor leader to chairing committees. 

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