When you look back on the Governorship of Michael L. Parson it’s likely to be 2022 when he went from a successful Governor to staking his claim as one of the better Governors in Missouri history.
As we say in bootheel: scoreboard.
Now reasonable people can argue about whether this list of accomplishments is good or bad, but no reasonable person can argue that this isn’t an impressive list of things to have accomplished. And a truly incredible list of things to accomplish in one calendar year.
#1 The tax cut. Every republican from dog catcher to governor runs on cutting taxes. Most don’t ever actually accomplish that task. Governor Parson did.
Few people thought that special session would turn out anything close to good, but Governor Parson pushed all his chips in the middle of the table and came out a winner, a big winner.
#2 His appointees earn promotions. Much has been made of Governor Parson appointing three, and now five statewide office holders. However, more should be made of the voters affirming those choices.
In 2020 Treasurer Fitzpatrick, Lt. Governor Kehoe, and Attorney General Schmitt were all overwhelmingly elected to the posts they were appointed to. That’s 3-0.
In 2022 Fitzpatrick was promoted to Auditor, and Schmitt was promoted to the U.S. Senate.
That’s 5-0. #scoreboard
#3 Abortion ended in Missouri. Again you can argue whether this is a good thing or not. However, you can’t argue that a man who stood for election as “The most pro-life Governor in Missouri history” actually ending abortion in the state is quite an accomplishment.
#4 The ag bill. For rural Missourah we have to make hay while the sun shines. We have a cattle farmer in the Governor’s Mansion and we have to take care of agriculture, our state’s biggest industry, while he is there.
Very few people thought he could thread the needle and pass the MASBDA tax credits in a special session, but he did.
Kinda like John Dutton he was in a tight spot and came out winning. In this case, with an assist from incoming Speaker Dean Plocher winning big for rural Missouah.
#5 Judge Ransom’s investiture. In May his first Supreme Court pick Judge Robin Ransom had her investiture on the court. She has already begun establishing a solid record that is making the selection something he can be proud of long after leaving office.
#6 COVID state of emergency ended. On January 1st Governor Parson ended the COVID-19 state of emergency.
Governor Ron DeSantis may be elected president on his use of restraint during COVID, but no Governor in the country used more common sense restraint than Governor Parson. Whether you were obsessed with COVID in the Central West End, Missouri or thought it was a hoax in Centerville, Missourah Governor Parson allowed local leaders to make local decisions and in doing so completed what many non-zealots felt was the best COVID response in the entire country.
#7 The budget is in the black. While the record surplus is due to the federal money flowing through the state, Missouri’s economy has continued to grow even after the Biden gas prices soaring would still be in the black even without the federal dollars. Governor is an easier job when the state is in the black. Governor Parson has cut taxes while keeping the state’s finances in good order.
#8 Mizzou’s continued string of success. Can you ever remember a time when Mizzou was this successful for this long? Like ever? Ever in your life?
Dr. Choi has Mizzou doing better than at any time in most people’s professional life and has maintained that success for several years now.
When Mizzou has problems they ultimately end up at the Governor’s office. Governor Parson has helped foster a situation where Dr. Choi not only kept problems out of this office but has year after year given the state things to be proud of.
#9 New Attorney General & Treasurer. After the elections, the Governor replaced his recently promoted Attorney General and State Treasurer with two selections that were met with praise from most corners of the state.
His General Counsel and legitimate war hero Andrew Bailey was selected as Attorney General and has gone to work putting together one of the strongest staffs in the history of the AG’s office adding Ray Wagner, Josh Divine, and Bill Corrigan.
Vivek Malek was a bit of a surprise pick for Treasurer, he has a track record of success and is going about impressing everyone he has met.
#10 Record low unemployment. Missouri’s economy continues to stand strong, with a current unemployment rate of 2.7%. The credit goes to the man in the chair and he has consistently strung together one of the strongest unemployment rates in the nation.
While 2022 might have seen too many accomplishments to reasonably replicate what could he work on for 2023?
1. State Boards and Commissions. There are probably a dozen boards and commissions that directly impact the people of the state. They are set up to keep Missourians safe from politics and from pervert St. Louis Governors using the state like a rental car.
Governor Nixon left several positions on those boards and commissions open and the state suffered. While it’s tempting to leave people on expired terms so they are beholden to him. Governor Parson should leave office with those board and commission positions fully appointed.
He won’t be able to say he left the state better than he found it if he doesn’t fulfill his role and allow the boards and commissions our state’s forefathers put in place to protect us from Governors from St. Louis by filling those slots before he leaves.
#2 Sports betting. Look when regular people get pissed about something they typically get what they want. In this case, you have republicans who run on the gubment staying out of your life and letting you make your own decisions. Then tell you that you can’t put $20 on the Chiefs game. It’s silly, and he can play a role in fixing the problem.
#3 The Supreme Court of Northern Missouri. It’s time that the Supreme Court ended its clear and obvious bias against southern Missouri. He has two selections to the court coming up next year; after those two retirements, no one from south of Jefferson City will be on the court.
What if no one from St. Louis was on the court? Oh god, they would never shut up. The suburbs never shut up their complaining anyway but it would be deafening. We are simply too nice in rural Missourah, and we pay for it through the nose.
The Governor is from Polk County and I have a hard time believing that he thinks there isn’t a lawyer south of Taos qualified to serve. Now the panel is selected by an independent commission, but he will have appointed the citizen members and he has a way to make it clear he is tired of the geographic bias, and I reckon they will listen.
I suspect they will listen by giving him a young, accomplished attorney from southern Missourah he can select for one of those spots.
I am a big believer in the Missouri Plan. I think if you look at all of the places that it is used in the state that the Missouri Plan is a conservative’s best friend. However, that plan starts to get harder to defend when it can’t seem to put forward anyone in the southern part of the state.
It’s becoming unfair to people such as top qualified judges like Judge Matt Hamner in Camden County because of the past bais, he is now being put at a disadvantage today. For applicants like Judge Hamner it’s fortunate the Governor has two selections.
More than that it starts to hurt the court’s legitimacy when a reasonable person can ask why should a carpenter in Oregon County or a moonshiner in West Butler County has to abide by rulings from a court where there he is subject to adjudication without representation.
This Week in Missouri Politics is off Sunday, but back Sunday morning January 8th.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.