A Missouri state senator who delivered an emotional speech in the senate chamber after the death of Tom Schweich has said he’s not surprised at the findings of the Clayton Police Department investigation of that death.
The Department said it has no doubt Schweich fired the shot that took his life nearly a month ago. It said it found no evidence of the whispering campaign Schweich believed was being conducted against him saying he was Jewish, which he believed was meant to hurt him among evangelical Christian voters.
Senator Mike Parson (R-Bolivar) said that’s what he expected.
“Just because I’m a law enforcement officer and a sheriff and have worked many suicides, I wasn’t expecting anything different,” Parson told Missourinet. “They’re going to look at things on a factual basis, on the evidence of what’s criminal.”
Parson, who two weeks ago joined other GOP lawmakers in calling for the state party’s Chairman, John Hancock, to step down saying the party has failed to take a stand against negative campaigning, said he has no more to add to what he’s already said.
“I said my piece and I’m done with that, and we’ll see what happens from there,” said Parson. “Everybody else can do as they please, he can do as he pleases, and that’s pretty well where I left it.”
Hancock responded to those lawmakers’ call for the party to suggest changes to campaign financing, to change the negative nature of advertising, and to reform ethics saying he looks to legislators to lead on such issues.
Parson said that’s a fair expectation when it comes to passing laws, but it doesn’t answer his concern.
“I’m talking about ethical conduct … we all know what that is,” Parson said. “Everybody knows what’s going on and you’re either going to keep going like you’re going or you’re truly going to try to change it and make a little difference, and I think we’ve got the perfect opportunity to do that.”
Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Randolph County Pachyderms, Parson did not mention Hancock by name and said it wasn’t necessary to “rehash” what has happened in the past month, but he again addressed the issues he sees with how campaigns are conducted.
“You’ve got to start figuring out how you’re going to deal with people, because we’ve gotten to the point in the political arena where we accept somebody telling lies about another person, somebody saying things about them to destroy their families,” said Parson.
He said he wasn’t just talking about the situation regarding Schweich.
“It’s happened over and over and we’ve seen it happen over the years. I have, and it gets worse, and it gets worse, whether it be a phony commercial, whether it be a phony committee … whatever it might be. But that’s not who we are as Missourians,” said Parson. “For some reason we say it’s okay to win at all costs, but it’s not okay to win at all costs when you’ve got to destroy somebody’s lives … this has been going on for way too long and it needs to stop.”
Possible ‘Parson for Governor’ campaign?
Parson said on Friday he is considering running for governor, but told Missourinet he hasn’t made a decision whether he will.
“It’s something I didn’t even dream about five weeks ago,” said Parson. “I said on the Senate floor I wasn’t going to just let everything go by and not do anything anymore, and if you’re going to say you want change then you probably need to go out there and you need to make your case and see if people believe in you or not, and that’s what we’re going to be thinking about doing.”
Parson said more would be known about his political plans, “in the near future.” He has vowed he will not use in a campaign the type of attack ads he says might have contributed to Schweich’s suicide.