ST. LOUIS – As Governor Mike Parson looks ahead to the 2020 election, he’s making it clear he supports the police.
Whether politically motivated or not, he says St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner made a mistake tweeting about a case, suggesting that police should not have questioned a man on marijuana possession. That incident ended with police shooting and killing 28-year-old Cortez Shepherd.
“You have a prosecutor that says she isn’t going to file on charges or says you shouldn’t be there,” Parson said. “This is a four-time felon from what I understand, had drugs in the car, loaded weapon, that’s the first guy you should want off streets.”
The governor said police and the circuit attorney have to be on the same team or nothing will change.
As far as gun violence, Parson said that problem won’t be solved with a special session. He said gun violence has been going on for years and will take time to correct. But he believes it starts with education and opportunities for young people.
“The bottom line is: I'm going to protect law-abiding citizens out there that have a right to have a gun,” he said. That's what the Constitution says.”
Governor Parson said people tell him they want to feel safe and appreciate his priorities of the state economy, improving infrastructure, and creating more jobs.
“We created 40,000 new jobs in the state since I became governor. I never thought that was possible,” he said.
The state’s unemployment rate sits at 3.3 percent, below the national average. The governor's controversial and embattled abortion bill is something he said he won’t change, a stance that falls in line with his conservative counterparts. He does believe the majority of Democrats back him on workforce development, infrastructure, education, and healthcare.
“There’s always going to be that discussion, pro-life, pro-choice, but I don’t think that’s the only thing that going to regulate someone’s vote,” he said.
Parson said he backs low-income housing tax credits as long as they are reformed and more efficient. He also hinted at the frustration that his opponents are attacking his transparency and questioning if he can be influenced by lobbyists.
“I don’t owe anybody anything! I go to work every day knowing I love this state and people and I’m going to do what’s right for people of this state,” he said. “Politics 101. People accuse me of it. No matter who my donors are, somebody's going to make it an issue of it.”
The governor said he’ll focus on putting Missourians first.
“We stayed focused on that from day one and I’m going to continue to do that.”