Mike Parson says he knew a move up from lieutenant governor was possible. But he says on Wake Up Columbia it didn’t really sink until he got the call late last month that Governor Greitens was resigning.
“You’re just trying to soak it in. And what do you say? I mean, you know you’re going to be now the governor of the state of Missouri, which is a tremendous honor.”
Parson says he plans to focus on moving Missouri forward, and that includes promoting the proposed gas tax increase for infrastructure that you’ll see on the November ballot.
“For Missouri to do well, it’s going to take infrastructure. And that means highways, that means bridges. That means airports, rail, ports for our rivers. Those are all important economic engines.”
The Missouri Board of Education has enough members to function again, after two people were appointed this week. Governor Parson says it was a key example to show people state government was still functioning.
“You’re talking about the responsibility of our kids in school all across the state of Missouri, and a lot of bad things can happen when you don’t have a quorum, or when it can’t make decisions. So it was important for me to get that back up, and make sure the state knew that everything was going to be ok.”
Parson says he plans to fill the other three state board of education positions as soon as possible. A national search is underway for a new education commissioner.
The new governor says he understands some people are still angry with the investigation that led Eric Greitens to step down.
“Sometimes situations happen the way they happen, but my main point right now is to move forward,” Parson says. “I can’t do anything about yesterday. None of us can. And we don’t know about tomorrow. We don’t that any of us are going to be here tomorrow to have this discussion. But it’s today.”
Highlights from our conversation:
(0:00) Settling in to his new role
(5:00) Filling state board of education positions
(8:00) Listing some top priorities, including infrastructure and his support of the November gas tax ballot issue
(11:15) Stating importance of transparency, and need for laws against use of secretive communication apps and devices in government
(12:00) Addressing his biggest challenge, the value of political experience, and his response to people angry about the investigation of Gov. Greitens
(16:00) Looking at the future of his Buy Missouri initiative
Listen to Mike Parson’s first in-studio interview as governor, from 93.9 The Eagle’s Wake Up Columbia on Wednesday:
(This story was last updated at 11:04 a.m. Wednesday.)