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Parson named Statesman of the Year

Mike Parson’s ascension to the post of Missouri’s chief executive certainly was not through traditional means, yet he has taken on the task of Governor with a steady hand and integrity.

Due to his steadfast services to the people of Missouri and his commitment to service, Parson will be honored at the 2nd annual Statesman of the Year party hosted by the Missouri Times. The event will be held on January 29, 2019, at 7 p.m. at the Millbottom. The event will also honor the 2018 Best of the Legislature and recognized the preceding Senate President Pro Tem with a legacy award.

“The Statesman of the Year event in 2018 was an overwhelming success,” Rachael Herndon Dunn, editor of the Missouri Times, said. “The first Statesman party was packed from wall to wall as we honored now-Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe. We had amazing sponsors to make it happen, and it gave us a great reason to honor a nonprofit and we’re doing again. This year, we’re honoring Gov. Mike Parson for the undeniable efficient stability he brought to Missouri politics after a rough year. The Governor and his team have worked together with the legislative supermajorities to execute a clear vision of priorities. He may be proposing bold solutions, but we’ll be at the Millbottom on Tuesday honored to honor a bold Governor with 400 – or more – of our closest friends.”

The 62-year-old Republican stepped up to take the place of scandal-plagued Eric Greitens, who resigned as Missouri’s governor on June 1, 2018.

“Governor Parson came into office in an unenviable way, but he has governed with a steady hand and integrity,” said Scott Dieckhaus, partner at Palm Strategies.

From a rural background and with decade of experience as a Missouri lawmaker, Parson set the tone for his tenure as the state’s chief executive during his swearing-in ceremony.

Parson called for Missouri to come together, to work together, and to help one another while he pledged to work hard each and every day, to bring honor, integrity, and transparency to the governor’s office.

The media was given the opportunity to ask Parson questions after his speech as governor. His communications staff provided the media with the governor’s schedule during his first week in office and earmarked time for folks to ask questions and get a sense of what it happening.

That openness and transparency was a welcome relief and is something Parson and his staff has maintained through his tenure.

Six months into the job, Missouri’s 57th Governor has assembled a great team, established stability in a politically tumultuous time, brought folks from all over and all political standpoints to the table, navigating rough times with the duck boats and drought, and made three statewide appointments.

Parson has travelled the state pushing for an investment in infrastructure and workforce development. Following a ballot failure to fund roads and bridges, he didn’t shy away from the issue moving forward. Instead he listened to the voters and discovered another way to address the issue.

“I’m grateful to Governor Parson for being willing to have tough conversations and listen to people on both sides of the aisle. We are all Missourians, and while we may not agree on every issue, we must work together so that the gridlock of the federal government isn’t replicated here. Governor Parson has led our state out of a very difficult period and I congratulate him on this well-deserved recognition,” said Kansas City Mayor Sly James.   

“I can think of no better person to be named Statesman of the Year than Governor Mike Parson. He rose to the occasion when called to duty, and he has done an excellent job righting the ship of state,” said James Harris. “He has sought to mend fences in the Capitol, bringing all sides to the table to work on the issues facing Missouri. He has also been clear that his goal is to serve the people of our state, not build his political brand, and I think he made that clear by using the State of the State not to court headlines, but to put forward realistic policy goals that will have a tangible impact for the people of our state.”

Born in 1955 in Wheatland, Missouri, Parson grew up on a farm and graduated from Wheatland High School in 1973. He joined the U.S. Army at 19-years-old where he served two tours — one in Germany and one in Hawaii — in the military police corps. He worked his way up into the criminal investigation division of the Army.

From 1993 to 2005, Parson served as the elected Polk County Sheriff. At the same time, he ran a small farm in Bolivar and ran two gas stations.

Following his tenure as sheriff, he entered the Missouri House of Representatives and then the Missouri Senate.

In his time in the legislature, he fought to strengthen laws protecting farmers, the use of deadly force to ward off attacks, and was an outspoken opponent of abortion.

As lieutenant governor, Parson led the effort to overhaul Missouri’s board and commissions and has highlighted problems at veterans homes. He came out in support of raising taxes for transportation infrastructure and was opposed to Greitens’ move to freeze low-income housing tax credits.

And as Governor, he offered a much needed stability to state government.

“Congratulations to Governor Mike Parson on being named Statesman of the year. It is great to work with him! He is smart, he listens, he’s genuine, and he understands the the success of Missouri is closely tied with the success of the St Louis region. Congrats – this is a well deserved honor!” said St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson.