“To be able to deliver the speech in the middle of everything we’ve been through in the last 10 months, to be able to talk about positive things — about hope, about the future of this state, people going back to work, preserving the American dream — the things I think are the basic principles of who we are as Missourians,” Parson said. “I felt really good talking about how we can improve and how we can make people’s lives better.”
Parson appeared on Sunday’s episode of “This Week in Missouri Politics” to discuss the address, which was moved to the Senate chambers at the last moment. Parson praised his staff for adapting to the shakeup and making the change in venue work on a tight schedule.
“I think some of the people we had yesterday did some incredible things in just hours,” he said. “We’d been practicing for this day and all of a sudden you change it on a dime; you just had all kinds of people that did remarkable things in a few hours to be able to put that together.”
Parson reviewed his proposed FY 2021 budget, delivered to lawmakers last week, which earmarked $1.9 billion for Medicaid expansion for the next fiscal year. Of that, $1.65 billion is set to come from federal funds, with the remainder coming from general revenue and various taxes. Parson said that while this year’s budget would be able to fund the program without any major cuts, the effects would likely be seen in future budgets. Parson outlined other priorities for the year, from COVID liability to education and infrastructure.
He also covered the state’s progress in distributing the COVID-19 vaccine, from the beginning of Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination plan to Wednesday’s kerfuffle in which some legislators and staff received vaccines meant for other state employees.
Parson denounced the violence on Capitol Hill last month, asserting that President Joe Biden won his bid for the Oval Office last year. He said he hoped to communicate with the new administration and see it do well for the American people.
“We’ve had some conversations with the White House about COVID, some different things going on with that, but never had a one-on-one contact with the president yet,” Parson said. “I’m sure his administration is busy right now and we’ve had the State of the State and we’re dealing with the virus like they are. … At the end of the day, I want the president of the United States to do well.”