JEFFERSON CITY, MO - While Republicans are largely supporting Governor Parson`s State of the State Speech, Democrats including those from the St. Louis area are taking a more critical view.
In fact, state democratic leaders are calling Governor Parson more of a divider than a unifier.
“Fate handed Governor Parson the privilege of leading our state but he has failed to use this opportunity to improve the lives of its people, said the Democratic House Minority Leader Crystal Quade from Springfield after the speech.
Quade added about Parson, “He`s wanting to celebrate a whole lot of things while we are having a whole lot of Missourians suffer.”
Governor parson received a standing ovation from leaders on both sides of the aisle when he walked in.
But that applause became more divided along party lines as the Governor`s speech unfolded.
Democrats supported parts of the speech including when Parson spoke about the need to increase teacher`s pay.
But they criticized other parts including the Governor`s language on reforming the Medicaid system and Parson`s strong support of gun rights.
“It`s just very interesting when the governor in one sentence talks about focusing on those things that bring us together but yet in the next sentence brings us those issues that he knows is very divisive,” said state Representative Tommie Pierson, a Democrat who represents north St. Louis County and a part of north St. Louis city.
One issue drawing questions from democrats is Parson`s position on combatting gun violence in areas including St. Louis.
The Governor says steps are being taken but Democrats argue more needs to be done.
Democratic state representative Steven Roberts who represents part of St. Louis city including the Central West End told us, “We need to change our gun laws. We need common-sense gun laws. We need to take firearms away from dangerous individuals.”
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, who was also at the speech, added, “We all have to work together on the things that we can agree on. And I think that`s one of the messages that the Governor said today.”
Republicans have supermajorities in both the house and senate, so it could be tough for Democrats to stake out positions on some issues that will get any real traction.
We will see what happens as the session unfolds.