JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson on Monday said it's "time for a fresh start" and called for unity as he addressed the Legislature for the first time since he took office following Eric Greitens' resignation amid allegations of personal and political misconduct.
Parson ascended to the state's top executive office after Greitens stepped down in the face of possible impeachment from the Legislature.
In a rare move, Parson before his speech met with Missouri's congressional delegation, as well as both Republican and Democratic state lawmakers, to discuss issues including infrastructure and the opioid crisis.
"For 14 years I've watched my friend and colleague, Mike Parson, proudly and effectively serve the state of Missouri," Republican Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard said in a statement after Parson's speech. "There is no one more prepared to take on this challenge."
House Democratic Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said Parson has reached out to both sides of the aisle and the Kansas City and St. Louis mayors, but she said she wanted to hear more from him about his policy priorities.
Rep. DaRon McGee (D-Kansas City) said, “I think we’re in a bit of a honeymoon. We’ll see how long that lasts. I think everyone is unified for now. I think we’re ready for the nightmare to be over and I think we’re ready to see how we can move forward.”
Rep. Judy Morgan (D-Kansas City) added, “I think he really wants to do what he thinks is best for Missouri and I think sometimes we disagree about what’s best for Missouri but I think we will handle it in a more professional way than it was handled with the last governor.”
Rep. Greg Razer (D-Kansas City) thinks, “There are definitely some tough conversations we’re going to have to have with the governor, but it’s nice to have a partner who may be willing to sit down and have those conversations.”
Majority Caucus Chair Glen Kolkmeyer (R-Jackson, Lafayette, Johnson Counties) said, “It was awesome. He did a great job bringing the state together, bringing the legislature together. Unity.”
Tuesday, Governor Parson kicks off a two-day, statewide listening tour. He’s set to be in Kansas City Tuesday evening.