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Missouri

Parson inauguration focuses on optimism after year of coronavirus pandemic

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KMIZ
The Missouri Capitol is decorated for Gov. Mike Parson's inauguration on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021.

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Gov. Mike Parson’s remarks were celebratory as he was inaugurated Monday to his first full term as Missouri’s chief executive.

“We have seen some challenging days together, but when it is hard to find the light, sometimes all you need is a spark to get the fire going again,” Parson said. “Even in the darkest times – Missouri shines on. Sunny days are ahead.”

Parson held a news conference going over his legislative goals for the next four years at 1 p.m. Watch the full briefing in the player below.

During the briefing Parson said his main legislative goals would be to improve workforce development, education and infrastructure -- goals he has had before being sworn in as well. The governor said specifically about statewide education that early childhood development needs improvement.

"It's important that the children of our state and the children of the US have the same opportunities," Parson said. "I don't know where opportunity takes them, but I will tell you this, they shold have an opportunity and nobody should take that away from them."

In light of the insurrection led at the US Capitol Building last week, the governor said some additional safety precautions have been taken at the state capitol. He did not specify what security upgrades have been made.

The governor said his cabinet is still working on implementing Medicaid expansion in the State of Missouri. Parson said the state government is working to verify that every resident who currently receives Medicaid is still eligible to receive assistance.

He included Missouri has about 1 million Medicaid recipients currently and that as many as 200,000 could be added to the rolls from the expansion. Missourians approved expanding the national program in 2020.

When asked about working with legislators across the aisle, Parson said this has been a priority for him and that many who work in state government generally agree on the items included in his legislative agenda.

Parson was inaugurated as the 57th governor Monday in an event that also marked Missouri's bicentennial. The event happened less than a week after violent rioters breached the U.S. Capitol. However, no major security issues were reported in Jefferson City.

Parson’s inauguration comes after a year marked by the coronavirus pandemic that has sickened more than 424,000 Missourians and killed nearly 6,000. Parson did not mention directly the virus or COVID-19, the disease it causes, in his remarks. However, he pledged to continue working to give doctors and nurses “the tools they need to care for Missourians.”

Parson assumed the role of governor in 2018 after former Gov. Eric Greitens resigned from office during a felony invasion of privacy investigation. Parson won election in November after defeating the Democratic candidate and current Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway.

Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe was also sworn in Monday to his first full term.

Missouri's Department of Public Safety oversaw security at the inauguration. The department has developed safety protocols over time providing officers for various events at the Capitol and at inaugurations in years past.

Jefferson City police officers and Cole County sheriff's deputies also provided security.

Coronavirus / Governor of Missouri / Jefferson City Video / Missouri Politics / News / Politics / Top Stories / Video

ABC 17 News Team

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