BOLIVER, Mo. -- As Lieutenant Governor Mike Parson gets set for a swearing-in ceremony this week, many people in Bolivar, Mo. expressed excitement Thursday for Parson’s turn at governor.
They’re hopeful he’s ready be ready for the spotlight.
Parson once worked as a gas station worker in the city before becoming the Polk County sheriff in 1992.
He also served in the U.S. Army and was a member of the Military Police.
Before moving on to Jefferson City as a state lawmaker, many residents who spoke to 41 Action News said Parson served as a great leader for the area.
“We’re very proud that Bolivar is going to be the home of the 57th governor of Missouri,” said Linda Weiland Bunch. “This is a good friend and a good public servant.”
Weiland Bunch told 41 Action News on Thursday that Parson’s wife, Teresa, has been a close friend of hers for over 30 years.
Following the resignation announcement of Gov. Eric Greitens this week, Weiland Bunch said Teresa called her to tell her the news.
“I think it caught them a little. That surreal kind of feeling,” she said. “They get the enormity of it. This is not show. This is real business.”
Weiland Bunch described Parson as a approachable person with a strong work ethic that would suit him well for governor.
“He’s funny. He’s a big Chiefs fan. He’s a farm boy and likes his beans and cornbread,” she said. “I’ve never seen somebody that will talk to as many people as he does and genuinely be interested in the conversation.”
Others around Bolivar expressed similar feelings about Parson on Thursday.
Rob Ross, who manages the Peddler’s Post collectibles store downtown, said he went to school with Parson’s children years ago.
With Missouri having to deal with controversy over the last several months, Ross believed Parson’s term as governor comes at a crucial time.
“Mike is a real moral guy,” he explained. “I think we can use someone with a strong moral compass.”
Moving forward, Ross said Parson’s time in Bolivar and Polk County would serve him well as governor.
“He sort of bleeds southwest Missouri blood,” he explained. “He’ll take that common sense, good listener, hard working approach back with him.”