Expert predicts less dramatic administration with Mike Parson as governor
JEFFERSON CITY – A political observer at MU says Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, and the General Assembly, are likely to take a low-key approach after Parson is sworn in as governor Friday.
MU Professor of Political Science Peverill Squire said, "Not that everything would function perfectly, but it would be much less dramatic and probably less stressful."
Peverill said policy on transportation and K-12 and higher education would be some of, but not the only, challenges Parson would have to face.
"The new governor has to restore trust, has to put behind all the problems that we've experienced, and give people confidence in government," Peverill said.
He said Parson's knowledge of the General Assembly - Parson served in both chambers - would allow him to establish a smoother working relationship with state legislators.
"He knows the people, he knows the personalities, he understands the process," Peverill said. "My guess is, he would be much more willing to work with the legislature, he would be much more willing to consult with the legislature."
The House Minority Leader, Rep. Gail McCann Beatty, D-Kansas City, said Parson's experience will work in his favor.
"He already has relationships in both chambers," she said. "I think that was probably one of the challenges that the current governor had. He did not have those relationships, and did not come in trying to build those relationships."
McCann Beatty said she has good expectations for the incoming governor.
"I think he would have an open-door policy, at least give us the opportunity to voice their opinions," she said. "The fact that he's reached out so early speaks volumes, I think he is going to be good to work with."
Rep. Craig Redmon, R-Canton, also said Parson's experience will be a factor.
"I think Mike will do a fine job, he's been involved with the legislature for quite some time now, very knowledgeable," he said. "He just got personal experience, so anytime that you've walked in somebody’s shoes you have a better idea of how things work or have a tendency to work."
Redmon said anyone who knows Parsons, knows he is "a good and honest guy."
Although Greitens will be only the third governor in the state to resign, according to the Missouri Secretary of State, Peverill said this is not an unusual situation nationally.
"There've been other instances where governors have resigned in the face of potential impeachment, and resigned in the face of potential criminal charges," he said.
Peverill said the General Assembly comes off "looking pretty strong," particularly the House Committee.
"They were tenacious in their examination. They were willing to pursue charges against another Republican, and they were fairly methodical in how they went about doing it," he said.
Peverill said the Special House Investigative Committee should "issue some sort of report to provide a general assessment of what they uncovered during their investigation."
He said Greitens' resignation could have a toll on the Missouri Republican Party.
"They have a lot of people who are very unhappy that the governor has been forced to resign, and he was forced out of office by other Republicans," he said. "That sets up a little bit of a battle within the Republic Party. They have time to recover before November, but we'd see whether this is played out by the time the primary elections are held in August."