Missouri Gov. Mike Parson began a second term in office Monday with an inaugural ceremony that was scaled back. The event also marked kicked off Missouri’s bicentennial year. Up to 2,000 people were expected at the inauguration at the capitol in Jefferson City but it is not immediately known how many attended.
The Republican governor took the oath at a midday event on the grounds of the recently refurbished Capitol, with church bells ringing and artillery guns firing a salute — a tradition unchanged from past governors.
After a performance from the Missouri State University Chorale, Senate President Pro Tem Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, convened a rare joint session of the Legislature on the Capitol lawn. The oaths of office were administered at 11:40 a.m. to Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe.
Missouri Supreme Court Justice Mary R. Russell swore swear in Kehoe, and Parson was sworn in by Jackson County Circuit Judge Sarah Castle, who is disabled. Ashcroft was sworn in by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem, and Fitzpatrick by Judge Johnnie Cox from Missouri’s 39th Circuit in Monett. Schmitt was sworn in by Judge Thomas Albers.
In an age of covid restrictions there was no inaugural parade, no hand-shaking reception line with the general public and no inaugural ball, where the governor and lawmakers typically don fancy apparel to dance in the cramped quarters of the Capitol Rotunda. All of those festivities have been canceled or postponed because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Parson’s second term is being lauded by pro-life groups. Missouri Right to Life released a statement congratulating the governor:
“Congratulations to Michael L. Parson, Missouri’s 57th Governor!” they said. “Thank you for all you have done to protect women and babies in Missouri! We look forward to working with you in the years to come. May God watch over you and protect you and your family as you serve the people of Missouri.”
State officials hope that by this August enough people will have been vaccinated against the coronavirus to safely hold a more elaborate celebration. It would coincide with the 200th anniversary of Missouri’s official admittance to the United States on Aug. 10, 1821.
Parson, 65, won election to a full four-year term in November by easily defeating Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway. Parson had been elected lieutenant governor in 2016 but ascended to the top spot on June 1, 2018, when Republican Gov. Eric Greitens resigned while facing potential impeachment over allegations of sexual and political misconduct.
–Dwight Widaman | Metro Voice