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Michael L. Parson (born September 17, 1955) is an American politician and former law enforcement officer serving as the 47th and current Lieutenant Governor of Missouri since January 2017. He was a Republican member of the Missouri Senate representing the 28th district from 2011 to 2017. Previously, Parson served three terms in the Missouri House of Representatives from the 133rd district (2005–2011). Parson served as the Majority Caucus Whip in the Senate during the 96th General Assembly.[1]

Mike Parson
Mike Parson.jpg
47th Lieutenant Governor of Missouri
Assumed office
January 9, 2017
Governor Eric Greitens
Preceded by Peter Kinder
Member of the Missouri Senate
from the 28th district
In office
January 5, 2011 – January 4, 2017
Preceded by Delbert Scott
Succeeded by Sandy Crawford
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
from the 133rd district
In office
January 2005 – January 5, 2011
Preceded by Ronnie Miller
Succeeded by Sue Entlicher
Sheriff of Polk County
In office
1993–2004
Preceded by Charles Simmons
Succeeded by Steven Bruce
Personal details
Born (1955-09-17) September 17, 1955 (age 62)
Wheatland, Missouri, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Teresa Parson
Children 2
Education University of Maryland, College Park
University of Hawaii, Manoa
Website Government website
Military service
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1975–1981
Rank Sergeant

Contents

Early life, education, and workEdit

Parson was born on September 17, 1955, in Wheatland, Missouri and raised on a farm in Hickory County. He graduated from Wheatland High School in 1973.[2]

In 1975, Parson spent six years in the U.S. Army, serving two tours in the Military Police working up to sergeant.[3] He attended night classes at the University of Maryland and University of Hawaii.[2][4]

Following his military service, in 1981 Parson returned to Hickory County to serve as a deputy. In 1983, he transferred to the Polk County Sheriff's Office to become their first criminal investigator. He purchased his first gasoline station, "Mike's", in 1984. The following year he started a cow and calf operation, becoming a third generation farmer.[5][3]

Parson served twelve years as Polk County sheriff before being elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 2004.[6]

Missouri House of RepresentativesEdit

Parson first represented the 133rd District in the Missouri House of Representatives starting in 2004.[2] He was subsequently reelected in 2006 and 2008. In 2007, Parson co-sponsored a bill to expand Castle doctrine rights.[7]

In 2010, Parson signed the American for Tax Reform pledge not to raise any taxes.[8]

Missouri SenateEdit

 
Parson in 2012

In 2010 Parson survived a tough primary campaign against two fellow Republican state representatives, Ed Emery and Larry Wilson. In the November general election, he defeated Constitution Party candidate Bennie Hatfield to win his first term in the Missouri Senate.[9]

He won re-election in 2014 running unopposed in both the primary and general election.[10] Parson successfully helped shepherd a state constitutional "right-to-farm" amendment that guaranteed the "rights of Missourians to engage in farming and ranching practices."[3]

Notable committee assignmentsEdit

Committee Title Years(s)
Small Business, Insurance and Industry Vice chair 2011–2014
Chair 2015
Agriculture, Food Production and Outdoor Resources Vice chair 2011–2012
Governmental Accountability and Fiscal Oversight Chair 2013–2014

Lieutenant Governor of MissouriEdit

 
Parson with Sonny Perdue in 2017

CampaignEdit

Parson initially announced he would run for governor, but opted to run for lieutenant governor instead.[11] After defeating two opponents in the Republican primaries, he faced Democratic U.S. Representative Russ Carnahan whom he defeated in the general election on November 8, 2016. He received the most votes of any lieutenant governor in Missouri history winning 110 of Missouri’s 114 counties.[5]

His campaign highlighted five core issues: protecting Second Amendment rights, preventing wasteful government spending, promoting agricultural industry, opposing abortions, and growing the economy.[12]

During his campaign, Parson was criticized by his former chief of staff for allegedly proposing legislation on behalf of a lobbyist and a $50,000 plan to employ a valet for his vehicle. Parson claimed his former staffer was a "disgruntled former employee".[13]

TenureEdit

Parson was sworn in along with Governor Eric Greitens on January 9, 2017. Noting that the Lieutenant Governor's office had not been upgraded in the past twelve years, Parson approved $54,000 in remodeling and renovation costs within his first two months.[14]

In 2017, Parson sought a $125,000 increase to his $463,000 budget, which included $35,000 to reimburse him for travel mileage during state business. He also sought $10,000 for out-of-state travel.[14] In 2018, he asked for an additional $25,000 to pay for a part-time personal driver, but decreased his overall budget request to $541,000. In response to criticism, his office has routinely stated that his office and salary is the smallest of any statewide elected Missouri official.[15][16]

In August 2017, multiple outlets reported that Parson was the only statewide elected official to accept gifts from a lobbyist. During his run for governor, Greitens called for a prohibition on lobbyist gifts. Parson's predecessor, Peter Kinder, also accepted gifts.[17][18]

Following the allegations of improper care at the Missouri Veterans Home in St. Louis, which were first reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in October 2017, Parson's office immediately launched an investigation.[19][20]

On February 22, 2018, Greitens was indicted on felony invasion of privacy charges.[21] The indictment came a month after Greitens disclosed an extra-marital affair, which only increased speculation that Parson could succeed Greitens should he step aside or be removed.[22][23]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1985, he married his wife Teresa. They live in Bolivar, Missouri. They have a daughter, Stephanie, and a son, Kelly. Teresa and Kelly work in banking, while Stephanie is teacher.[3]

Parson is or has been a member of national organizations like the American Legion, National Rifle Association (NRA), National Sheriffs' Association, and local organizations like the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Farm Bureau, and various chambers of commerce.[24][2]

He endorsed Mitt Romney during 2012 presidential elections and Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential elections.[25][26]

Electoral historyEdit

Missouri 28th District State Senator Republican Primary 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Parson 14,518 47.4% Winner
Republican Larry Wilson 9,590 31.3%
Republican Ed Emery 6,533 21.3%
Missouri 28th District State Senator General Election 2010
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Parson 47,380 83.7% Winner
Constitution Bennie B. Hatfield 9,213 16.3%
  • Unopposed for the 28th District seat in 2014
Missouri Lieutenant Governor Republican Primary 2016[27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Parson 331,367 51.505% Winner
Republican Bev Randles 282,134 43.852%
Republican AC Dienoff 29,872 4.643%
Missouri Lieutenant Governor Election 2016[27]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Mike Parson 1,495,392 52.9% Winner
Democratic Russ Carnahan 1,168,947 42.3%
Libertarian Steven R. Hedrick 69,253 2.5%
Green Jennifer Leach 66,490 2.405%

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Senator Mike Parson". Senate.mo.gov. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-29. Retrieved 2011-01-20. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Meet Mike". Mike Parson for Lieutenant Governor. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  4. ^ Psaledakis, Daphne. "Missouri's possible next governor Mike Parson described as 'a straight shooter'". Columbia Missourian. Retrieved 2018-02-26. 
  5. ^ a b "Biography Mike Parson - Missouri Office of the Lieutenant Governor". Missouri Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  6. ^ "History of the Sheriff". Polkcountymosheriff.org. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  7. ^ "Missouri, meet your new statewide officeholders". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  8. ^ "State Taxpayer Protection Pledge List_CURRENT_2011". docshare.tips. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  9. ^ "State of Missouri - Election Night Results". Sos.mo.gov. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 
  10. ^ "Previous Elections". sos.mo.gov. Retrieved February 24, 2018. 
  11. ^ McDermott, Kevin. "Republican Mike Parson adds his name to race for Missouri governor". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-02-26. 
  12. ^ "issues". Mike Parson for Lieutenant Governor. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  13. ^ "Former Mike Parson chief of staff says no way he's voting for him this year". kansascity. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  14. ^ a b Erickson, Kurt. "Remodeling of Missouri's lieutenant governor's office tops $50,000". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  15. ^ Erickson, Kurt. "Missouri's lieutenant governor wants a personal driver". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  16. ^ KY3. "Lt. Gov. Mike Parson sets record straight about requesting money for a driver". Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  17. ^ Erickson, Kurt. "Missouri's lieutenant governor is lone statewide official who takes lobbyists gifts". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  18. ^ "Missouri lieutenant governor alone accepts lobbyists' gifts". Springfield News-Leader. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  19. ^ Messenger, Tony. "Messenger: Volunteers, families allege poor care at St. Louis Veterans Home". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  20. ^ "Lt. Governor announces investigation into allegations of improper care at St. Louis Veterans Home". FOX2now.com. 2017-11-01. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  21. ^ Held, Kevin. "Gov. Eric Greitens indicted for invasion of privacy". Fox 2 St. Louis. Retrieved February 22, 2018. 
  22. ^ "What happens if Greitens is out and Parson moves up?". www.bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  23. ^ Parker, Joey (2018-02-23). "Lawmakers could impeach Gov. Greitens regardless of guilt". KMIZ. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  24. ^ "The Voter's Self Defense System". Vote Smart. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  25. ^ "Mitt Romney: Press Release - Mitt Romney Announces Support of Missouri Leaders". ucsb.edu. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  26. ^ "Donald Trump picks up slew of Missouri Republican endorsements". Springfield News-Leader. Retrieved 2018-02-23. 
  27. ^ a b IT, Missouri Secretary of State -. "State of Missouri - Election Night Results". Enrarchives.sos.mo.gov. Retrieved January 17, 2018. 

External linksEdit

Missouri House of Representatives
Preceded by
Ronnie Miller
Member of the Missouri House of Representatives
from the 133rd district

2005–2011
Succeeded by
Sue Entlicher
Missouri Senate
Preceded by
Delbert Scott
Member of the Missouri Senate
from the 28th district

2011–2017
Succeeded by
Sandy Crawford
Party political offices
Preceded by
Peter Kinder
Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor of Missouri
2016
Most recent
Political offices
Preceded by
Charles Simmons
Sheriff of Polk County
1993–2004
Succeeded by
Steven Bruce
Preceded by
Peter Kinder
Lieutenant Governor of Missouri
2017–present
Incumbent