by: Emily Manley, Ozarks First
The 57th governor of Missouri officially took his oath of office Monday at the Capitol surrounded by more than 1,000 people.
Gov. Mike Parson was sworn into a full four-year term after being elected in November. Parson filled the role of former Gov. Eric Greitens after he stepped down in 2018.
During his inaugural address, Parson focused on the challenges the states has faced, his devotion to Missouri and his plan as governor for the next four years.
“I tell you, today is our time,” Parson said during his speech. “This is our time to preserve the American dream.”
The 57th governor of Missouri is optimistic for what is to come in the state.
“The state is more than my house, it is my home,” Parson said. “I will care of the unborn to the elderly, to the rich to the poor, regardless of the color of your skin.”
Just after the ringing of the local church bells at noon, the Republican governor was sworn into office. Parson said he wants to provide tools to nurses, doctors and law enforcement officers.
“I will continue working hard to give our teachers the tools they need to educate our children and I will continue working hard each day for all Missourians,” Parson said.
After the ceremony, he met with reporters, laying out his priorities for his time in office.
“Workforce development, infrastructure, some of the things we know we have to improve on is healthcare,” Parson said. “Trying times exposes you to the thing you need to do a better job at.”
He also pointed out the challenges the state has with the pandemic.
“We still have to deal with COVID-19, that liability is still out there,” Parson said. “That’s so real and I’m thankful the vaccine process is going well. We are going to continue to do that.”
When asked about the chaos in the nation’s capital, Parson criticized the violence.
“Whether it’s in Washington D.C. or it’s in Missouri, or any other state, if you’re violating the law and you’re responsible for your own actions,” Parson said. “Trying to blame somebody for your own actions is not who we are. I’ve said all along, I believe in civil protests, but what I don’t believe, is I don’t believe anybody for any cause has the right to commit crimes.”
Democrats in both the Senate and the House have discussed and filed bills for police reform in the state. Parson said it’s a conversation the General Assembly needs to have this session.
“I think as we move forward with law enforcement issues, I think what we learned from this summer, there needs to be a discussion about that and I think there will be,” Parson said. “I hope to have a lot of discussion about that to figure out where we’re going in the future.”
Parson mentioned in his press conference, his goal as governor is to make a difference for the kids of Missouri.
“I think everything should be centered around childhood development,” Parson said. “If you really want to change society, if we want to change education, it’s about making sure every kid has an opportunity to an education, regardless where you live or where you’re from. They should have an opportunity, and nobody should take that away from them. So, that will be one of the priorities in my administration.”
Normally there is an inaugural ball and parade, but due to COVID-19, those festivities have either been canceled or postponed until the bicentennial in August. Aug. 10, 2021, will mark the 200th anniversary of Missouri becoming a state, which is being kicked off with the inauguration.
Parson will hold the office as governor until 2025 when he will be 69 years old.
Also, inaugurated Monday were:
- Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe
- State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick
- Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft
- Attorney General Eric Schmitt