Former U.S. Senator and two term Missouri Governor Kit Bond (R) returned to Jefferson City for this week’s Bicentennial celebration. The 82-year-old Bond had lunch with Governor Mike Parson at the governor’s Mansion on Tuesday, and met with Parson in the Mansion library. That used to be the governor’s office.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson (left) speaks to former Governor Kit Bond on August 10, 2021 at the Mansion in Jefferson City (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

“This Mansion that the governor and (Missouri First Lady) Teresa have worked on, continued upkeep, this is a very important part of Missouri heritage,” Bond says.

Bond served as Missouri Auditor from 1971-1973, and was elected as the youngest governor in state history in 1972. He served as governor from 1973-1977 and again from 1981-1985. Bond tells Missourinet that Show-Me State residents have rallied around others for 200 years. He says Missourians responded, during the difficult times he faced as governor.

“We had tough days, but we always came out. People rallied behind us when we told them what the problem was, whether it was floods or even prison riots or tornadoes,” says Bond. He describes that as the “Spirit of Missouri.”

Bond has long said that the best days he had in government were his second gubernatorial term in Jefferson City, despite facing a $900 million budget shortfall at the start of it. The state budget in 1981 was about $3 billion. After being sworn-in, Bond immediately went to work and met with Missouri House and Senate leaders, who were all Democrats. He also signed Parents as Teachers into law, during his second term. It was sponsored by the late State Sen. Harry Wiggins (D-Kansas City).

Bond was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1986, replacing retiring U.S. Sen. Tom Eagleton (D). Mr. Bond served four terms on Capitol Hill before retiring in 2010.

Former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan (D), a former Missouri First Lady, attends the Bicentennial lunch at the Governor’s Mansion on August 10, 2021 (photo courtesy of the governor’s Flickr page)

Former Governor Bond and Governor Parson sat down with Missourinet for an interview in the Mansion library, after the Bicentennial lunch. Parson says it’s the first time he’s met with Bond in the library.

“You know when you think of somebody like a Kit Bond, who was a governor and a (U.S.) senator and an icon in the political arena in our state. To think that you’re kind of following up in those footsteps a little bit, it’s a great honor to be governor,” Parson says.

Parson notes there have only been 57 governors in Missouri’s 200-year history.

Former U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan (D), a former First Lady, also attended this week’s luncheon at the Mansion. She was joined by her son, former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-St. Louis). Numerous other dignitaries also attended the luncheon, including Missouri Supreme Court judges and state lawmakers.

As for Governor Parson, he’s inviting all Missourians to the upcoming Bicentennial Inaugural parade in Jefferson City, which will take place on Saturday September 18 at 10 am. The grand marshal will be World War II veteran Edith Harrington, who lives in northern Missouri’s Macon. Governor Parson is impressed.

“She can hold her own against anybody else else in that parade, I can tell you right now. She’s a World War II nurse, veteran nurse that’s there. She’ll be on a World War II Jeep leading this parade. You’ll have the Clydesdale horses there. The parade will be none like most parades we’re used to: it’s actually going to be about the history of our state,” says Parson.

The governor says it will include Missouri history such as Mark Twain, Walt Disney and General John Pershing. He also says there will be free ice cream that morning for everyone at the parade. Parson notes the Bicentennial ball will take place that evening outside the Missouri Capitol, for the first time. There will be fireworks that evening.

Governor Parson praises the success of the Bicentennial events, describing Tuesday as an awesome day for Missouri. He joined the U.S. Postal Service for the unveiling of the Missouri Statehood stamp. Music was provided by the Missouri National Guard’s 135th Army band, along with the Missouri Choral Directors Association all-state festival choir.

33 new U.S. citizens were sworn-in during a naturalization ceremony, inside the Capitol Rotunda. There was also a Bicentennial tree dedication, and an ice cream social at nearby Central Dairy.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s interview with Governor Mike Parson and former Governor Kit Bond. It was recorded on August 10, 2021 after the Bicentennial luncheon at the Governor’s Mansion in Jefferson City:

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