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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

With Official Announcement, Parson Brings Rural Focus to Governor’s Race

Missouri State Senator Mike Parson says he’ll run a positive campaign in his pursuit of the governor’s mansion in 2016. Parson made an official announcement on Thursday at Bolivar High School.

Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
Sen. Parson speaking at Bolivar High School Thursday.

In front of a raucous hometown crowd of approximately 500, the Republican senator says he’s ready to launch a campaign built on the values acquired as a member of the U.S. Army, Polk County sheriff, and farmer.

“If that is what you are wanting in a candidate, I would ask for your support as I announce my candidacy for the governor of the great state of Missouri! God bless you, God bless Missouri, God bless the United States of America!”

Parson, who has served in the Missouri Legislature since 2004, the last five as senator, says that under his leadership Missourians will experience a government that operates on “common sense principals.”

“It will mean an emphasis on keeping government small and out of the way of hard working men and women who are pursuing the American dream. It will mean [fiscally] responsible budgets that spend each and every tax payer’s dollars wisely and carefully, while also looking for ways to invest in our young people so that they can obtain an affordable education they need to be the leaders of tomorrow,” Parson said.

Credit Scott Harvey / KSMU
Among the many signs present at Thursday's rally.

Parson, the only candidate to date who’s not from the St. Louis area, believes he can bridge the gap between the state’s largest cities and smallest towns. And his main focus will be on Missouri’s biggest industry; agriculture.

“Missouri has always been a state where our strength comes from the things we grow in the soil and the products we make. And I will do all I can do promote and protect the Missouri agriculture industry.”

He said that the values and beliefs of rural communities, like Bolivar, have made our nation great, and pledges to take his core values of faith, family, country and common sense to the state capitol.

Parson had been working to raise his profile since last month’s suicide of Auditor Tom Schweich, a Republican who at the time was seeking his party’s nomination for governor.

The latest report through the Missouri Ethics Commission shows Parson has more than $445,000 on hand.

The Republican field already includes Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and former state representative Randy Asbury. Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says he plans to run in the Democratic primary.

Follow KSMU throughout the 2016 election season to learn about the candidates and the issues facing Missouri.

Scott joined KSMU in November 2012. He had previously served five years as news director for KETR-FM, the public radio station in Commerce, Texas. A graduate of Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Scott enjoys producing human-interest stories, among other pieces that educate and engage the community. When not at work, he’s often taking part in outdoor activities, exploring new areas and restaurants, or staying up-to-date with the latest news and information. Scott was born and raised in Shenandoah, Iowa.