On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Republican lieutenant governor hopeful Mike Parson.
Parson, a state senator from Bolivar, won a hotly contested GOP primary for the lieutenant governorship against Bev Randles. He’s facing off against Democrat Russ Carnahan in the general election. Carnahan recorded an episode of Politically Speaking that will be posted later this week.
Before he was elected to the Missouri Senate in 2010, Parson served in the Missouri House and as Polk County's sheriff. Prior to jumping head first into Missouri politics, Parson spent a number of years in the U.S. Army and owned several gas stations. His large Senate district includes parts of southwest and south central Missouri, including Sedalia, home of the Missouri State Fair.
It could be argued that Parson's foray into statewide politics began after the death in 2015 of state Auditor Tom Schweich. He made an impassioned and emotional speech on the Senate floor decrying what he saw as immense negativity in Missouri politics. Parson initially entered the race for Missouri governor, but switched to lieutenant governor about a year ago.
Here’s what Parson had to say during the show:
- After declaring himself "old school," Parson said he's always thought "work at the end of the day pays off." "I'm running up and down this state as hard as anybody is," Parson said. "I'm putting more signs up than anybody is. I'm meeting more people than any candidate that's probably out there. And I'm absolutely busting my tail end to get people to know my message."
- He says he's been a supporter of the low-income housing tax credit, an incentive that's elicited controversy in the Missouri General Assembly. If he's elected lieutenant governor, he'll serve on a board that doles out that tax credit.
- Parson said that Carnahan's voting as a congressman is out of step with the rest of Missourians. "He's voted with the president of the United States 99 percent of the time," he said. "And let me just say this: There's not a Democrat or Republican in the state of Missouri that I truly believe would line up with [Barack Obama] 99 percent of the time."
- After he won the Republican primary, Parson's former chief of staff Bubs Hohulin sharply criticized Parson to the Kansas City Star. Hohulin has since appeared in one of Carnahan's advertisements. Parson, however, contends Hohulin is nothing more than a disgruntled employee. "You've got an employee who left under a situation that wasn't the best of situations," he said. "I tell you first thing: I'm a hard guy to work for. Because when you work in my office ... we work."
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Mike Parson on Twitter: @MikeParsonForMO
Music: “Return of the Mack” by Mark Morrison