JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Missouri’s gubernatorial candidates, Incumbent Republican Gov. Mike Parson and Democratic State Auditor Nicole Galloway, spent their Monday giving their final pitch to voters across the state on why they should be elected Missouri’s governor.
Parson started his Monday by greeting supporters at Jefferson City Memorial Airport where Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick joined him. The “Get Out the Vote Tour” included five other stops across the state which Parson traveled by plane.
“This election is about, do you want to move this state forward or do you want to go back to more taxes?,” Parson asked supporters before boarding the plane in Jefferson City. “Do you want to go back to more regulations?”
This election could be the first time Parson is elected to the position. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2016 and then became governor in 2018 after Eric Grietens resigned.
“If you listen to my opponent under her plan, if that would have been instigated then there would have been no students in school all across the state of Missouri,” Parson said.
One of his big talking points for his campaign is the state’s economy.
“I know that if I want my kids to stay in Missouri, and your kids and my grandkids, then you got to develop jobs, you got to bring businesses in,” Parson said. “You got to fight the virus with everything you can but you also have to make sure our economy keeps going.”
Parson’s opponent, Galloway, said the governor is not facing the realities of COVID.
“Governor Parson refuses to do that and if he’s not willing to realize we have a problem with COVID in our state, how can he even begin to address,” Galloway said at a campaign stop in Columbia Monday afternoon. “If he had a plan to address COVID, if he had a plan to lower the cost of healthcare, if he had a plan to put money into our K-12 school districts, we would have seen it already.”
Throughout the pandemic, Parson has left mandating masks to the local level, Galloway disagrees.
“I believe that we need a state-wide mask rule,” Galloway said. “The virus does not know any county line; it does not know the boundaries of a school district. The actions that we take right now to contain the spread of the virus will determine community spread, will determine hospitalizations and will determine how schools can safely reopen.”
Besides the election, COVID cases and hospitalizations are on the rise in Missouri.
“So we have to start preparing months down the road to make sure we have staff to handle this situation,” Parson said. “It’s not always about the bed space or the ventilators or the ICU beds. You also have to think of the staff.”
“It is very clear he does not have a plan to address the increase in hospitalization we are seeing across the state,” Galloway said. “As governor, I would listen to our local public health experts, I would listen to the data and the science.”
Two days after the election lawmakers are set to return to the Capitol this week for another special session, this time to discuss a supplemental budget bill. Some Democrats have said the governor has not been transparent about the session.
“It’s a supplemental budget, we do it all the time,” Parson said in response. “We know they know why they are coming in, it’s because of the CARES Act funding. I don’t think there’s any secret about it. We need a supplemental budget just to get by to the end of the year because of everything that’s happen just with the CARES Act.”
Galloway said lawmakers are coming back because Parson didn’t do his job.
“There’s still a billion dollars sitting at the state level that has not been deployed to fight this virus,” Galloway said. “He doesn’t need to call a special session for a supplemental budget because the legislature already gave him broad authority to spend CARES Act money.”
If Parson loses Tuesday, the session would be a lame-duck session, something that hasn’t happened in Missouri in nearly 50 years.