Missouri’s governor appointed Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, as Lieutenant Governor on Monday in Jefferson City.

Cole County Judge Patricia Joyce administers the oath of office to Mike Kehoe as Lieutenant Governor on June 18, 2018 (photo courtesy of Missouri Senate photographer Harrison Sweazea)

Governor Mike Parson (R) made the announcement at the Statehouse, saying the lieutenant governor position reassures Missourians that all operations of state government will continue.

Parson also praises Kehoe’s background.

“Throughout my career, I have witnessed the importance of steady, predictable and selfless leadership,” Parson says. “Being prepared and having experience matters.”

While the Missouri Constitution doesn’t specifically address how the lieutenant governor should be replaced when there’s a vacancy, former Attorney General and Governor Jay Nixon (D) says the Governor “has the authority to fill a vacancy in this office by appointment.”

Former Governors Matt Blunt (R) and Bob Holden (D) agree with this interpretation.

Governor Parson brought in attorneys Joe Bednar and Lowell Pearson for the announcement. Bednar served as chief legal counsel to Governor Mel Carnahan (D), and Pearson was chief legal counsel to Governor Blunt (R).

Parson says both men believe he has the authority to make the appointment.

Governor Parson told Missourinet earlier this month that he didn’t like the state being without a Lieutenant Governor.

The Bolivar Republican says infrastructure will be a top issue for Kehoe.

“He has served as a former commissioner of (the) Missouri Department of Transportation, and has a strong sense of the infrastructure challenges our state is facing,” says Parson.

Kehoe is a former chairman of Missouri’s Highways and Transportation Commission. He tells the Capitol Press Corps he agrees with the governor’s emphasis on infrastructure.

“I will do all I can to help him in that conversation and work with community leaders from urban and rural areas as well as MoDOT and others on the transportation infrastructure as well as, you know, other infrastructure that is out in our state,” Kehoe says.

Kehoe is pledging to work tirelessly, and tells Capitol reporters he’s grateful for the opportunity.

“When Governor Parson called and asked me to assist him in this role, it was one of the most monumental experiences of my life,” says Kehoe. “Like the governor, I believe that public service is a privilege that no one should take lightly.”

Kehoe grew up in north St. Louis, and has represented Cole County and several other mid-Missouri counties in the Senate since 2010.

He served as Senate Majority Leader from 2016 until Monday. He also owned and operated the Ford and Lincoln-Mercury dealership in Jefferson City for about 20 years.

Kehoe says “we are one Missouri” and that we can only move forward together.

You can listen to Kehoe’s comments here.

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce (D) administered the oath of office to Kehoe. Both are parishioners at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Jefferson City.

Kehoe’s wife and children also attended the ceremony, as did his Senate staff and Monsignor Kurwicki of the Cathedral of St. Joseph.

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