After only five months on the job, Gov. Mike Parson says he has accepted the resignation of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services director Don Kauerauf.

About 200 protesters also rallied Monday at the Capitol against Kauerauf serving in the cabinet position. Some claimed Kauerauf supports mandates, but Kauerauf says he is against mandates.

Don Kauerauf

Members of the Missouri Senate Conservative Caucus opposed the governor’s nomination, derailing Kauerauf’s confirmation this week. Senators questioned him about his stance on mandates, abortion, the coronavirus, among other things.

In a news release, Gov. Parson said the Missouri Senate failed to seriously consider Kauerauf’s qualifications and credentials “to appease the political ambitions of a few members.”

“The events that have transpired over the past few days surrounding Don’s Senate confirmation hearing are nothing short of disgraceful, unquestionably wrong, and an embarrassment to this state and the people we serve,” said Parson. “I’ve been a conservative Republican my entire life and contrary to what some Senators believe, tarnishing a man’s character by feeding misinformation, repeating lies, and disgracing 35 years of public health experience is not what it means to be conservative. Don is a public health expert that is on record opposing masking requirements and COVID-19 vaccine mandates. He is outspokenly pro-life and morally opposed to abortion. Missourians know that I share these beliefs and would not have nominated someone who does not share the same Christian values. Yet, Senators chose to believe baseless rumors and outright lies on social media rather than the facts in front of them.”

Parson has temporarily appointed the department’s General Counsel, Richard Moore, as Acting Director. The Governor says he will further evaluate the state’s options in the coming days.

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