The only recipient of this year’s Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County “Works for You” award was a familiar face for the citizens of Pettis County.
State Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, was honored Thursday night with the 11th award that recognizes individuals, groups, corporations or organizations “who have gone above and beyond to support, promote, and assist economic development.”
“He has assisted many individuals and businesses in this very room,” EDSPC President Rusty Kahrs said during his remarks about Parson at the Sedalia Country Club. “His time and his support has been never-ending since he arrived in Sedalia. He has done everything to help us with recruitment of new companies as well as being continually cognizant of our existing companies’ needs.
“He worked long hours and devoted the time helping us to obtain access to everything we needed whenever we needed. If he didn’t have it within his grasp, he went out to find it.”
In between taking photos with local citizens and officials after the dinner, Parson told the Democrat this award is one he will “cherish forever.”
“It’s a huge honor to receive this award,” he said. “So many years being part of this community as an elected official, but so many friends in Sedalia and Pettis County. I’m just so proud of the people from this area for what they do for economic development and what Sedalia does. There’s many times that I hold Sedalia up as a model as I travel across the state for other communities on how to conduct themselves with economic development and I really think Sedalia is a model case for a lot of communities across the state.”
Parson has represented the 28th District, which includes Benton, Cedar, Dallas, Polk, Hickory, Laclede, Pettis and St. Clair counties, in the Missouri Senate since 2010. Before being elected to the House of Representatives in 2004, Parson served as Polk County Sheriff. He also served six years in the U.S. Army.
He chairs the Small Business, Insurance and Industry Committee and during his first two years in the Senate served as Majority Whip. While serving in the House of Representatives, he was chair of the House Rules Committee.
“Mike Parson is the politician we wish many others were like,” Kahrs said. “He carries his military, his farming and his law enforcement ethics with him in his daily life. He works hard, trusts in God, and loves his family.
“Mike Parson is an individual who always remembers who was there when he started in politics. He remembers those who stood by him when he started his own small business, and, he remembers those who stood by him when he became a third-generation farmer.”
Parson owns and operates a cow and calf operation near Bolivar, where he lives with his wife, Teresa, who Parson announced during his remarks retired from the banking industry this week.
Parson announced last year he is seeking the position of Missouri Lieutenant Governor in the August primary and November general elections this fall. As he works toward a potential new way to serve Missourians, he said one of his main goals has always been helping with Missouri’s economic development.
“I want to do everything I can for the businesses in this state so they prosper, they can hire more employees and that they’re successful businesses,” he said. “And whatever those tools are that they can put in the toolbox, that’s my job without having to just give them away. It’s not about giving away things, it’s how can you help them succeed in what they’re doing.”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.