Missouri’s incoming Lieutenant Governor thinks his party will be on the hot seat in January. Republicans swept all five statewide seats in last week’s election, and those future office holders will join a GOP supermajority legislature in the next session.
Lieutenant Governor-elect Mike Parson thinks the party needs to prove it can get things done. “The pressure’s going to be on us” said Parson. “People have put you there. Now what are you going to do. And can you deliver an agenda and get it through there. I think there’s going to be a huge responsibility with that. And I thinks we’re going to have to step forward quickly to prove we can do something.”
Both Republican legislative caucuses have announced their goals for the upcoming session. Senate and House Republicans agree labor reform will be a top priority. From the GOP perspective, labor reform means implementing a right to work law.
Parson thinks such legislation will be introduced and passed quickly. “Right to work definitely is going to be on the table. I think we all know that. In this state it’s been a long time coming. It’s been vetoed several times by the current governor. I think with a Republican governor you’ll see that go through pretty quick.”
Right to work laws let employees avoid joining unions that negotiate wages and benefits for them. Republicans say the laws stimulate job growth, while Democrats claim they destroy unions and lead to lower pay for workers. Outgoing Democratic Governor Jay Nixon successfully vetoed right to work measures a number of times during his term-limited eight years in office. Republicans now seemingly hold all the cards and can pass and sign laws at will.
Parson says his boss – Governor elect Eric Greitens – will make the final decision on policy issues, including right to work legislation. “I think that’ll be a top priority for the next administration. But that’s up to Eric Greitens to decide. And I’m going to be there to help Eric Greitens be the best governor in the state of Missouri. That’s what I’m going to do.”
Greitens beat Democratic challenger Chris Koster in this month’s election by a 51-to-45 percent margin. Parson won the Lieutenant Governor race over Democrat Russ Carnahan by almost 11 points.
Republican leaders in the Senate and House have stated their top priorities. Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe said “With good communication we can work towards our goals of economic development, labor reform, and regulatory reform.” GOP House Speaker Todd Richardson says House Republicans will focus on labor reform, tort reform and education reform in 2017.