Missouri’s GOP Gov. Parson reflects on past wins in his final State of the State address

Jan 24, 2024, 2:31 PM

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri’s Republican Gov. Mike Parson looked back on past wins in his final State of the State address Wednesday, lauding his achievements after assuming leadership in the chaotic absence of his disgraced predecessor, Eric Greitens.

Parson, who at the time was serving as lieutenant governor, took over as the state’s top executive in 2018 after Greitens resigned rather than continue fighting possible impeachment and allegations of personal and political misconduct.

“We closed the chapter on scandal and began a new direction, because there was no turning back,” Parson said. “We declared a fresh start and the return of stability.”

As governor, Parson has worked to cultivate an image of a practical leader focused on tangible achievements for taxpayers as a contrast to Greitens’ tumultuous and aggressive governing style.

A highlight of Parson’s achievements is his work to repair and improve the state’s roads and bridges, culminating last year with a $2.8 billion investment to extend Interstate 70 to six lanes across the state.

On Wednesday, he also pointed to numerous income tax cuts under his administration and his appointment of five statewide officeholders.

Parson has not shied away from acting on more traditionally partisan issues. In 2019, he signed a law that eventually allowed Missouri to ban almost all abortions once the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Last year, he pushed lawmakers to pass legislation that banned gender-affirming health care for minors, with some exceptions.

For his final legislative session, Parson, who is barred by term limits from seeking reelection, made relatively modest budget and policy requests of lawmakers.

He wants lawmakers to make it a felony punishable by up to four years in prison, or longer for repeat offenses, to bring fentanyl near minors.

Parson also called for child care tax credits and another $52 million for child care subsidies. And he wants a $120 million increase in basic aid for schools, a 3% increase in primary funding for colleges and universities, and a 3.2% pay raise for state employees.

But dysfunction and infighting among Republicans has lawmakers worried that little will get done in the Legislature this year.

In the Senate, elected GOP leaders reached a breaking point this week with the Freedom Caucus, a defiant Republican faction. Senate President Pro Tem Caleb Rowden removed several Freedom Caucus members from committee chairmanships and downgraded their parking spots, a move the targeted senators have said only escalated tensions in the chamber.

In the House, GOP Speaker Dean Plocher is fighting back allegations of misusing taxpayer funding.

Meanwhile, most lawmakers are either up for reelection this year or running for higher office. With a glut of GOP lawmakers and slim chances for Democrats to win any statewide office, the upcoming elections have pitted Republicans against each other.

Parson said he has humble hopes for how he will be remembered as governor, and he hinted at plans to retire from public service as he pined for the view of his southern Missouri farm from “behind the windshield of my John Deere tractor.”

“If we’re honored enough to be considered by Missourians as a ‘pretty good governor,’ ‘decent guy’ or ‘someone who never forgot where he came from,’ then it will all be worth it,” Parson said.


Associated Press writer David A. Lieb contributed to this report.

United States News

Associated Press

Philadelphia police officer shot by fleeing suspect is in critical condition

A Philadelphia police officer was shot in the neck and was in critical condition Saturday night, officials said. The 31-year-old officer was in critical condition and undergoing surgery at Temple University Hospital, Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel said during a news conference outside the hospital. The officer, a veteran of more than six years on the […]

8 hours ago

Associated Press

A fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store, police say

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Police say a fourth victim has died a day after a shooting at an Arkansas grocery store. The person died Saturday evening, Arkansas state police said in a statement. A total of 14 people were wounded in Friday’s shooting, according to police: “11 civilians, two law enforcement officers and the […]

9 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally, Saturda...

Associated Press

Trump endorses Ten Commandments in schools, implores evangelical Christians to vote in November

Trump endorsed displaying the Ten Commandments in schools while speaking to a group of politically influential evangelical Christians.

10 hours ago

Associated Press

2 people were taken to a hospital after lightning struck a tree near a PGA Tour event in Connecticut

CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) — Two people were taken to the hospital Saturday after lightning struck a tree near a home along a golf course that is hosting the PGA Tour’s Travelers Championship. The home is just north of the fifth green at TPC River Highlands, which is hosting the tournament one week after the U.S. […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Jury awards more than $13 million to ultramarathon athlete injured in fall on a Seattle sidewalk

SEATTLE (AP) — A jury awarded $13.1 million to an ultramarathon athlete who was severely injured when she fell on a Seattle sidewalk in 2021. The award by a King County jury found that the city of Seattle and the owners of an apartment building are responsible for the amount, the Seattle Times reported. Lesley […]

11 hours ago

Associated Press

Rains, cooler weather help firefighters gain ground on large wildfires in southern New Mexico

RUIDOSO, N.M. (AP) — Recent rains and cooler weather are helping more than 1,000 firefighters gain ground on two wildfires in southern New Mexico on Saturday that have killed two people, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to flee. Fire crews took advantage of temperatures in the 70s, scattered showers and light winds to […]

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.


DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Missouri’s GOP Gov. Parson reflects on past wins in his final State of the State address