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Parson names workforce development, infrastructure among priorities of full term

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — After being sworn in for a full term as Missouri’s 57th governor, Gov. Mike Parson pledged to prioritize two of his most talked-about areas of legislation moving forward.

“As the legislative session starts, we go back to the things that got us here today: Workforce development and infrastructure,” Parson told reporters following his inauguration. “Every day we’re going to be finding ways to put people back into the workforce. We’re going to fund creative ways to do that and still be able to maintain the fight with this virus and be able to move Missouri forward. We’ve got a good foundation to start as 2021 gets here, and we’re going to have to keep improving.”

Parson said COVID-19 would be a major focus of this year, noting the pandemic would continue to impact the state budget and operations for years to come and new technology would have to be accounted for in Missouri law.

“Another thing we know we have to improve on is health care — trying times expose you to where you need to do a better job, so I think telehealth, telemedicine will be a priority,” Parson said. “Wayfair is something else we’re going to have to really take a hard look at this year. We know how that affected us when we did have a lot of people staying home, and how much of a disadvantage it was to local Missouri businesses. We’ve got to find a solution for that, and those are things I think need to be a priority.”

Missouri is one of the only states without a Wayfair sales tax, collected by states from online commerce. Proposals have come from both sides of the aisle over the past couple of sessions, and Parson said he expected it to come up again in 2021.

He also said some form of police reform would be a topic of conversation going forward as the nation continues to grapple with last summer’s police shootings. Education was also touted as a major focus of his administration, with Parson saying “this is about tomorrow. … It’s important that the children of our state have the same opportunities all of us did.”

Parson was officially sworn in as Missouri’s 57th governor Monday, two months after winning his bid for a full term as the state’s chief executive. 

The 101st Missouri General Assembly began its legislative session last week, swearing in new leadership and considering new rules for both chambers