Missouri’s 57th governor wants to stay put in his office. Gov. Mike Parson has officially announced a 2020 run for the office he holds. Sunday’s campaign launch was made in southwest Missouri’s Bolivar – the town showcasing his humble beginnings of making ends meet for his family by pumping gas and fixing cars as a small business owner, and later serving as Polk County Sheriff.

Photo courtesy of Team Parson Facebook page

“I’ve spent 22 years in law enforcement and that experience taught me to understand how important it was to be a public servant – to be willing to sacrifice for others and to help people in their most difficult times.” said Parson.

His roughly 30-minute speech also entailed some traditional GOP talking points, such as fighting against abortion, free college tuition and free healthcare. He said America is at a critical moment.

“I want to create opportunities for education. Key word – opportunities. When these politicians say the word free – we all know what that means. That means you and I are going to have to pay for it. When it comes to government, nothing is free,” said Parson. “Now is the time to defend who we are. Now is the time to come together. Now is the time to stand up for Christian and family values. Now is the time to lead with honor and integrity. Now is the time to stand up for the American dream.”

During Parson’s address, protesters held posters about Medicaid shouting “Shame on Parson”. Event MC Mike Deering of the Missouri Cattlemen’s Association quickly gets Parson crowd supporters involved by shouting “I like Mike” several times.

Parson, of Bolivar, assumed the state’s highest office when former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned in June 2018 in response to a trail of allegations. He’s a cattle farmer who previously served as lieutenant governor, state Senator and state Representative.

Other candidates running for governor include fellow Republican Jim Neely, a state Representative from northwest Missouri’s Cameron and State Auditor Nicole Galloway, a Democrat from central Missouri’s Columbia.

In a press release issued Sunday, Neely said he “welcomes the latecomer to the Governor’s race”.

“This primary shouldn’t be a coronation for myself or anyone else. It’s an opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to Missourians who are fighting for their lives,” Neely said.

Neely told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch he’s running because he wants to continue his goal of helping people – not because he has an ax to grind with Parson. As a physician, Neely said the goal is to try to solve problems. He said he does not think government is doing that.

Galloway released the following statement:

“Missouri families can’t afford four more years of Governor Parson. Nearly 100,000 kids have lost their health coverage, rural hospitals continue to close, school districts are going to four-day weeks, and gun violence is ripping our communities apart,” said Galloway. “This Governor is out of answers, except to deliver for the well-connected insiders who get what they want while Missouri families continue to struggle. There is no better example than this week’s special session for special interests. We need a new way. I look forward to holding the Governor accountable on the issues.”

Missourians will decide in November 2020 who will hold the state’s highest office.

Listen to Parson’s full speech below:

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