A new era in Missouri government began late Friday when Lt. Gov. Mike Parson was sworn in as governor, replacing Eric Greitens, who resigned. Both are Republicans.
We wish the new governor success. He is experienced in state government, having served in both the House and Senate.
Gov. Parson, from southwest Missouri, lives on a farm outside Bolivar in Polk County, where he served for a period as sheriff. A farm boy, he served in the Army for six years. Parson is a down-to-earth person, who could be said to be a poster boy for rural Missouri. He’s easy to meet and has steady feet on the ground. He is the opposite of Greitens, who had uncontrolled ambition, knew little about state government, was aloof, self-centered, had a theme of secrecy, thought he was above the law and is one of the biggest hypocrites we have ever encountered in politics.
The relationship between members of the General Assembly and the governor should take a positive turn with the new governor. Parson is one of them and knows how to get along with them. He has many close friends in the General Assembly.
It will be interesting to see how he deals with the press. We hope he fosters a commitment of openness and honesty. Reporters can be difficult to deal with at times as they seek answers to issues that are of interest to their readers, who want facts and not evasiveness. The press needs to give the new top executive of the state time to adjust to his duties. Gov. Parson, meeting with representatives of newspapers in 2016, was critical of the media based on his experience with reporters while he was sheriff. He indicated members of the media didn’t always report the facts in a correct manner.
There will be freshness in state government with the new governor. Although he was governor for only 16 months, Greitens contaminated the executive branch of government. The tools are available to clean up the contamination. Parson knows how to use the tools. As a farm boy, he has considerable experience in cleaning up messes.