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In a crowd of several hundred supporters, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced his bid for GOP candidacy in the 2020 state election Sept. 8, running with a platform he said is aimed to combat the rise in socialism on the far left.

Parson, 63, spoke at Bolivar High School in his hometown of Bolivar, Missouri, Sept. 8, where he made the official announcement of running for governor in the coming election. Parson is seeking a four-year term after filling the role of previous scandal-ridden Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, who stepped down May 29, 2018.

The only challengers thus far of incumbent Parson is Nicole Galloway, Missouri’s Democratic state auditor who announced her bid Aug. 12, and State Rep. Jim Neely, a Republican gubernatorial primary candidate who announced his bid Aug. 29.

Speaking just miles from his cattle ranch in Bolivar, the state’s top executive spoke on policies and issues the GOP look to combat and push for in 2020. He called the election a critical moment for Americans to achieve the American dream.

“We see now across our country that the extreme left wants to fundamentally change who we are,” Parson said, standing on the Bolivar High School auditorium stage. “They want to change our country and our state forever.”

Parson’s speech came in front of supporters who held signs saying “Mike Parson Works” and at times chanted “I like Mike.” The chant was inspired by the 1952 slogan “I like Ike” that drafted then-General Dwight Eisenhower to run for president, providing an example on the public’s trust in his personality over politics.

Gov. Parson’s personality, as described by his campaign team, can be found in the remnants of his past and what led to his election as lieutenant governor, and the role he now fills as governor.

Parson joined the United States Army after high school and served in Military Police for six years.

Parson returned home to start his own business, a small cow and calf operation, and proceeded to work in law enforcement for 22 years. He was elected to serve as Polk County sheriff until 2004, when he was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives.

Parson served in the house from 2005 to 2011 and in the Missouri Senate from 2011 to 2017. He was elected lieutenant governor in 2016.

As governor thus far, Parson passed legislation cutting regulations and focused on the agenda of creating statewide job opportunities through infrastructure. In addition, he worked to reduce state taxes, having signed the largest income tax cut in Missouri history, reducing the rate from 5.8% to 5.4% in 2019.

Parson’s campaign includes the motto “Mike Parson Works for Missouri.” However, his opponents, like Galloway, feel his work has hindered Missouri families and the state’s progress.

“Missouri families can’t afford four more years of Gov. Parson,” Galloway said in a statement. “Nearly 100,000 kids have lost their health coverage, rural hospitals continue to close, school districts are going to four-day weeks, and gun violence is ripping our communities apart. This Governor is out of answers, except to deliver for the well-connected insiders who get what they want while Missouri families continue to struggle.”

Parson’s speech at Bolivar High School was interrupted twice by protestors who sat in the front row of the auditorium. The protest was led by four young women holding banners addressing recent legislation on abortion and the drop of state-run Medicaid that impacted the 100,000 children Galloway mentioned in her statement.

The protestors chanted “Shame on Parson” and were escorted out of the auditorium’s side door.

Parson addressed what he called “Missouri’s crisis with violent crime” in the state’s largest cities like Kansas City and St. Louis.

He met with St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and other area community leaders to address violence in the city. The officials didn’t release an official plan after the meetings, but Parson said one could be released soon. He also met with lawmakers in Jefferson City to discuss crime, as St. Louis has already seen 138 homicides in 2019, and Kansas City has recorded 103.

“That legislative body represents close to 6 million people in this state,” Parson said. “They all should have a say if we’re going to change the gun laws in this state.”

John Ashcroft, former United States Attorney General endorsed Parson’s bid, warning of the country’s recent “slide toward socialism.”

“Despite of having some well-meaning folks in Missouri, never do they seem to push back effectively against the national leadership of that party,” Ashcroft said, speaking of Missouri Democrats.

National policies having an impact on Missouri were discussed briefly in Parson’s speech Sept. 8. He criticized national Democrats for radical and aggressive approaches to issues like climate change.

“I run cattle all the time, and they make new ‘green deals’ every day out there in the field, but most people are just smart enough not to step in it,” Parson said.

Following discussion on issues and policy, Parsons spent extensive time touching on his humble roots during his speech instead of spending time talking about his past work in the legislature.

“I want to continue to do the hard work,” Parsons said. “To make sure everyone has the chance to pursue the American dream. To move Missouri forward with common sense, with honor and integrity. And that’s why I am here today, in my hometown of Bolivar – to announce that I am running to be your Governor of the great state of Missouri.”

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