Probably no one knows Gov. Mike Parson better than Dave Berry, publisher of the Bolivar Herald-Free Press. Dave is a talented and experienced news guy. In some ways his personality is much the same as Gov. Parson.
Berry is low-key, serious, thoughtful, clings to a strong work ethic, principled and sizes up people with a keen insight into their inner beings. He’s a journalist’s journalist!
Berry’s twice a week newspaper is top-flight and the June 8 issue’s front page was pretty much devoted to Gov. Parson, who farms near Bolivar, and grew up there. Berry interviewed the governor and gave readers a clear and in-depth insight into the man. As every Missourian knows, Parson was lieutenant governor when then governor Eric Greitens resigned and he was thrust into the governor’s chair. Parson’s background as a farmer, Army veteran, sheriff, serving in the House and Senate has prepared him well to be the state’s top executive.
Gov. Parson is a commonsense individual. Parson told Berry that as governor “you got to be willing to admit you don’t know everything. And you’ve got to be a good listener, and then you’ve got to figure out how to make things better.” Berry wrote that the governor’s grammar may not be as polished as a Rhodes Scholar “but he speaks as a common man with perhaps uncommon achievements who knows from where he came and how he got to be where he is.”
Parson said, “Home is important to me” and that’s why he invited his Sunday school class to witness his swearing-in ceremony.
The key word to Parson is relationships, according to Berry. He’s a master of that. Members of the General Assembly like him.
The new governor is a promoter of hard work, beginning at a young age, like he did when he was 14 years old and working in a gas station in his hometown of Wheatland. He wants a staff that knows how to work and is willing to do it.
He told Berry about an incident when he was in the General Assembly. A teacher from Sedalia told him that he didn’t know what he was doing about a certain bill, and he learned that the teacher was right. He didn’t know what he was doing. “The worst mistake politicians can make is to think they know everything. They don’t,” he told Berry.
The governor talked about growing up in a small town. If there was a problem, everybody was there to help. “If you had a problem you didn’t think about calling the government. Usually a neighbor helped.” Today, the governor said, the first people we go to is the government. To Gov. Parson, the last resort is when you should go to the government.
As for his time in the military, the governor told Berry that he learned the value of teamwork. “It (the Army) is mission driven.”
The governor said he learned early on that it is important to get good people around you. “And I think you have to know your weaknesses.”
From Dave Berry’s story, it is clear we have a commonsense governor!
Another thing, if you’re in the Army and in combat, Mike Parson is the type of person you want to be with you.