Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, made a campaign stop Wednesday afternoon in Sedalia in hopes of spreading his views on agriculture.
Supporters gathered in The Pork Place on the Missouri State Fairgrounds for lunch and the chance to meet the lieutenant governor candidate and hear his opinions on the agriculture industry and other issues. Parson is the former Polk County Sheriff and is a lifelong farmer, as he still farms in Bolivar. He said that background is part of why he wanted to focus on agriculture during Wednesday’s event.
“Having that ag background is so important in the state of Missouri. It’s the No. 1 industry in the state and it’s one of those things I truly think we need to do everything in our power to protect it for the future of Missouri,” he told the Democrat before lunch and remarks began. “… I think it’s so important that rural Missouri has a voice on the statewide ticket and frankly I’m proud to be the only candidate that truly is an active farmer. I think that’s critical for the state of Missouri to have that representation.”
Many members of the local ag community were in attendance Wednesday, including members of two organizations who have already endorsed Parson — Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and Missouri Pork Association. Forrest Lucas, of Lucas Oil and Protect the Harvest, has also endorsed Parson and spoke during Wednesday’s lunch.
Parson said one goal for Missouri agriculture is to keep food as local as possible.
“I think one of the things we always like to do is what we call farm to table. Anything we can produce here in Missouri from the beginning to where we can get it in our grocery stores, on our dining room tables is what we want to do and that’s important to the future of Missouri,” he said. “Instead of shipping things out to other states, whether it be beef, poultry, whatever products we might have we want to make sure we feed them, raise them and finish them here. The ultimate goal is to buy Missouri groceries.
“From the lieutenant governor’s position, I think you have every opportunity to advocate for agriculture on a daily basis and I think that is so important to get that done.”
Overall, Parson said he thinks he has many qualities and qualifications for the office of Missouri’s lieutenant governor.
“If you look at the jobs of the lieutenant governor, you advocate for veterans — who better to do that than a veteran?” he said. “One of your jobs is to oversee seniors and that’s one of the things I’ve always been passionate about, making sure people have a quality of life when they’re finishing up their years. Tourism is huge for rural Missouri, southwest Missouri, Sedalia, Missouri.
“… We hope nothing ever happens to the governor, but we know from our history that happens from time to time,” he added. “You’ve got to be qualified and be able to step in and fill those shoes. I think in this particular case it does matter that you have some experience in this position.”
Parson, whose senatorial district includes Sedalia, said he is trying to run a positive political campaign instead of talking negatively about his opponents — fellow Republicans Arnie C. “AC” Dienoff, of O’Fallon, and Bev Randles, of Kansas City; Democrats Winston Apple, of Independence, Russ Carnahan, of St. Louis, and Tommie Pierson Sr., of St. Louis; and Libertarian Steven R. Hedrick, of Warrensburg. He stayed true to that sentiment during his remarks, touting his own accomplishments and views and avoiding any mention of his opponents.
Parson told both the Democrat and the audience that when asked what he thinks is the biggest issue facing Missouri, he replies with “federal overreach,” giving the audience the example of the federal government’s strong suggestion that all schools nationwide make bathrooms gender neutral, something Parson is against.
“I really, truly believe the biggest issue facing the state of Missouri is Federal overreach and it’s going to be something we have to deal with,” Parson told the Democrat. “It’s going to take people with a little grit and a little bit of courage to stand up and say, ‘Hey, we’re not going to do this anymore.’”
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or @NicoleRCooke.