Mike Parson is the 57th Governor of the state of Missouri. He assumed office on June 1 of 2018, following Eric Geitens' resignation from the post. Parson has been highlighted in numerous news stories recently because of his attitudes towards the national call to stay at home and practice social distancing. Here are 10 things that you probably didn't know about Governor Mike Parson to help you become more familiar with him.
1. Parson is a native of Missouri
Michael L. Parson was born in Wheatland, Missouri on September 17, 1955. He is 65 years old and has spent most of his life residing in the state. He enjoyed a rural upbringing, growing up on a Hickory County farm. He attended the local high school and graduated in 1973.
2. He enlisted in the military but continued his education
Two years after graduating from high school, Mike enlisted in the U.S. Army. He served two tours working in the division of the Military Police, closing his six-year military career as a sergeant. Parson knew the value of education so when he was able, he took night classes at the University of Hawaii and at the University of Maryland, working towards his degree.
3. He worked as a sheriff
Prior to becoming involved in politics, Mike Parson returned to his home in Hickory County in 1981. After arriving, he secured a job as a deputy. Two years later he joined the Polk County Sheriff's Office where he made history by becoming the first criminal investigator. He established a solid career in law enforcement.
4. He owned a gas station
In 1984, just a year after turning criminal investigators for the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Mike Parsons bought a gas station. He was branching out into entrepreneurship. He called the station "Mike's." In 1985, he followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather to become a farmer and begin a cow and calf operation, all while still maintaining his job with the sheriff's office. Mike Parson was a hard worker and he was juggling a lot of responsibilities at the same time, but he made every endeavor pay off. He's an energetic person who puts his efforts into things that produce results. It is this reputation that would one day help him become a credible candidate for public office.
5. He served in the Sheriff's office for 12 years before entering politics
Mike Parson left his position with the County Sheriff's office in 2005, to serve in the Missouri House of Representatives. He served in this position until 2011 when he was elected to the Missouri Senate. He remained with the Senate until 2017. During his tenure, he was a member of Missouri's General Assembly and he fought hard to support 2nd Amendment rights and the rights of farmers through legislation. He vowed to hold the government accountable for its actions to ensure transparency for all residents of the state.
6. He has bolstered the state's economy
Governor Parson has maintained a strong focus on workforce development in the state of Missouri. New markets for trade have opened up and the unemployment rates fell to near historic lows because of his advocacy for useful legislation. He especially worked hard to ensure that farmers' rights were protected. He's fulfilled his promise to keep taxes low for the inhabitants of Missouri.
7. Mike Parson is a family man
Although Mike has spent 30 years of his life in public office, he has made time for his family. He is married to his wife, the First Lady Teresa Parsons, and they have two children who are adults. They also have six grandchildren. The couple lives in Bolivar where they still own the cow and calf operation that he established many years ago.
8. Parson has been recognized for his contributions
Governor Parson has done a great deal of good for the people of the state of Missouri during his years in office as a public servant. Throughout this time he has received multiple awards, honors, and acknowledgments. He was named on Ingram's 50 Missourians You Should Know list, named Biz 417 Person of the Year, and also received the Missouri Times Statesman of the Year award. He was also inducted into the Missouri Farmers Care Hall of Fame in 2017. The businesses and people of the state of Missouri have shown their appreciation for his efforts to improve the lives of those who live in this proud state.
9. He's coming under fire for rejecting the stay at home order
With mounting pressure on the social and political scene to issue a stay at home order, Mike Parsons has been standing firm in his resistance to issuing the order for the state of Missouri. Although neighboring states are following the advice of experts in public health, he is solid in his resolve. He responded to national pressure by confirming that this isn't something that he is ready to do. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is on the rise in Missouri with more than 1,500 positive cases and 18 deaths on record.
10. He let each district make their own choices
Whether you agree with his reasoning or disagree, Mike Parsons has allowed each district to make their own decisions about the stay at home order. He hasn't ruled it out as a possibility, but he didn't follow suit when other governors ordered the school districts to all close statewide. He allowed each of the districts in the state of Missouri to make their own choices about it. As of the writing of this, every Missouri school district closed down without directives from the governor. What this shows is a commitment to keeping government at higher levels out of the decision making and giving more power of choice to the people responsible for their individual districts.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson