Parson meets with mayors to build bridges across the state

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JEFFERSON CITY – Gov. Mike Parson met with seven mayors from the "Missouri Mayors United for Progress" program.

Parson said he is proud of the dedication mayors have for their towns and cities, and is looking forward to working with them.

"Just try to try to figure out how it is that we can help them to do their jobs better," he said. "The governor's role is going to be to assist them in whatever means we can, what we can do to make Missouri better."

Parson said it will be his priority to stay in touch with city leaders.

"They play a vital role in who we are, us in Missouri, whether it's the larger urban areas or whether they're small communities," he said. "And it's important to me to understand what their issues are, to address them, and what their concerns are."

Parson said he is aware there will be times when he and the mayors will not agree.

"That's okay, but the majority of the time we will agree because we are all going to be doing what is best for the state of Missouri," he said.  

Parson said there needs to be concrete results out of the meetings he is having with mayors and other city leaders.

"You know how we are going to be judged, is what was the results with that," he said. "Just sitting around the table with these and the other mayors I am looking forward to meet is a plan, how do we come up with a plan to fix things, how do we come up with a plan to deal with the crime rates in the state of Missouri."

Parson said, in order to understand the issues of communities across the state, he will have to hit the road. 

"Show me what your problems are, show me when you are talking poverty what all that means to the normal person out here," he said.

Columbia Mayor Brian Treece said it is important for local government to have a close relationship with the governor.

"This connection isn't new. I am proud to have worked with the last five or six governors," he said. "I have no doubt that Governor Parson is going to be very ecumenical in his support for local communities, whether that's Kansas City or Saint Louis or medium-size cities like Columbia."

Treece said there is a list of priorities Columbia brings to the table when working with the governor.

"Higher education funding is important, transportation funding is important, but also protecting our economy and entrepreneurship," he said.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James said the governor sounded "more like a mayor" when Parson addressed the meeting. 

"Mayors share very common issues. One of our major issues is infrastructure," he said. "But, right now, what we are most encouraged about is to have a partner in the governor's mansion who is willing to listen to us, talk to us, explore issues and ideas with us, and work with us to produce the best product."

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin also said she appreciates the opportunity to work with the governor.

"Collaboration is the key, and it really starts at the top," she said. "That's why we appreciate you so much Governor Parson, and that's why the mayors are here together. It's building the relationships, getting to know each other, no matter what the city and the mayors, and working together with the collaboration we appreciate."

Parson finished Tuesday's remarks saying his meeting with mayors was about "building bridges."

"When you start talking about what's rural Missouri, urban Missouri, Saint Louis versus Kansas City, it's about really building Missouri," he said.