JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - To mark the 100th day of Mike Parson's governorship of Missouri, Gov. Parson and ABC 17 News anchor Joey Parker discussed a variety of issues.
The conversation started with Gov. Parson being asked what his experience was like upon learning that he would be the state's 57th governor.
Governor Mike Parson: "It was like any other day at home on the farm for me. I was actually out doing some work around there that I’ve been trying to get done. It was kind of like, “Hey you better get prepared you may get another call” and that’s when it first become the reality.” When you get a call from a colonel, when you see your phone light up when you realize it’s the real thing cute. It was pretty sobering."
Joey: You didn't get a call from the former governor saying, “This is what I’m going to do and here is how you need to be prepared?”
Governor: I did not. I didn’t receive no call from the former governor and under the circumstances it’s just the way it was. It wasn’t that important of a factor for me at the time. We just realized it was more important for me to put a team together to be able to assume the role as governor.
Joey: You, from the county level, from the sheriff, to the House, to the Senate, to lieutenant governor…how do you think that prepared you to the governor, as opposed to someone who’s a quote, unquote, “outsider?”
Governor: You know, it’s huge. Just to have that kind of experience and to be where I am in my career and really in life in general, just to go through tough times in your career as a statesman or just as a farmer or a family man. It’s so important for me to build relationships and that’s not just in the political arena. We all know in real life if you build those relationships over years, overtime, that means something. Because what you do matters. Regardless of whether you’re here or you’re at home or you’re an everyday citizen or whether you’re the governor of the state of Missouri
Joey: Economic development is another big, key mission of yours, right?
Gov: Yeah, the two things that we’ve been out there, pretty well open all the time is infrastructure and workforce development. Those are huge and for the state of Missouri to prosper and to move forward those two things have to be a place for us to move forward. To really be leaders, not just be average or be average.
Joey: Education is important. A college degree is the new high school diploma. You pretty much have to have that to function in the world these days. But do you think vocational education is important?
Governor: Both of ‘em are tremendously important to the state. You know, the four-year universities play a key role in that workforce development and moving the state forward. But these tech colleges and these skilled labor jobs are going to be huge because the truth of it is, the majority of the people don’t have a college degree in the state of Missouri. So we really need to focus on the ones that are not gonna get that degree. “OK what do you have available for them? What kind of a tech school, two year school, a community college? What are we going to do to prepare them for the workforce? And I think that really needs to go back even to more of a high school level to make sure our counselors, our teachers know, what are we really preparing these kids for the workforce environment out there.
Joey: You talk about transparency. We had an administration where we’re still dealing with the aftereffects of things like Confide. Do you allow your administration to use
message deleting apps?
Governor: We do not. We do not. That’s something we did early on and you know, I want to be open. I’ve always been open and transparent to the media, to the people back home, to the people of the state. I think that’s important. Again, I’m just at a point my life where I don’t have to worry about the next election anymore. You know, where I go from here, I’m at the top of the ladder here right now. So either I climb down off of that ladder at some point and go home, or I keep running to be the governor of the state of Missouri. But really my whole focus is not on the parties. My focus is on doing what’s right, what’s better for Missouri and more importantly what’s best for the next generations.
Joey: Since you brought it up. (Are you going to run in) 2020?
Governor: Yeah, yeah, I…(governor laughs) who knows? Who knows? It’s a, it’s early for me. Right now, I’m still trying to find my way around the mansion. So, who knows. We’ll see when that day comes, but right now I feel good. You know, I just want to be the best governor I can be. And we’ll figure that out a year or so down the road.
Here's an extended version of Governor Parson's discussion with Joey.