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Mike Parson, the current governor of Missouri. Photo: CNN

Mike Parson's early life and education

Michael Lynn Parson was born on September 17, 1955, in Wheatland, Missouri, and raised on a farm in Hickory County. He graduated from Wheatland High School in 1973, according to Ballotpedia.

He enlisted in the United States Army in 1975, and over six years, he served two tours in the Military Police Corps and was discharged from the Army in 1981 at the rank of sergeant. While in the Army, he attended night classes at the University of Maryland and the University of Hawaii, without completion of a degree.

He returned to Hickory County in 1981 to serve as a sheriff's deputy and transferred to the Polk County Sheriff's Office to become its first criminal investigator in 1983. Parson served as Polk County sheriff from 1993 to 2004.

He purchased a gas station in 1984 and named it Mike's. He eventually owned and operated three gas stations throughout the area.

Mike Parson's early career

Missouri General Assembly

Parson was first elected to the 133rd District in the Missouri House of Representatives in 2004. He was subsequently re-elected in 2006 and 2008. In 2007, Parson co-sponsored a bill to expand Castle doctrine rights.

In 2010, Parson was elected to his first term in the Missouri Senate. He had signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge not to raise any taxes. He served as the Senate's majority whip during the 96th General Assembly. He won re-election in 2014, running unopposed in both the primary and general elections.

Mike Parson's political career

On May 29, 2018, Greitens announced that he would be resigning, effective at 5:00 pm on June 1, 2018. Parson was sworn in as governor a half-hour later.


On June 18, 2018, Parson appointed fellow Republican Mike Kehoe, Missouri Senate Majority Leader, as Lieutenant Governor. The appointment came with legal uncertainty, as the Constitution of Missouri states that the governor can fill all vacancies "other than in the offices of lieutenant governor, state senator or representative, sheriff, or recorder of deeds in the city of St. Louis". However, Parson stated that he believed that the Constitution gave him authority to tap Kehoe as lieutenant governor. On June 19, 2018, the Missouri Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in an attempt to undo Kehoe's appointment. The Democrats lost their lawsuit in the Cole County Circuit Court due to a lack of standing and the vagueness of the state law which states it cannot be done but does not provide a process to fill the position. Oral arguments were heard on November 7, 2018. On April 16, 2019, the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that the appointment was legal.

Parson appointed Lynn Parman, Jay Wasson, and Christopher Waters to the Missouri State University Board of Governors. Aside from the appointment of Kehoe, Parson inherited the same administration as his predecessor Eric Greitens had left.

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Photo: Daily Journal

2020 election

After filing to run for his first full term in the 2020 gubernatorial election, Parson, when asked if he would plan to run for another term in 2024, said "I don't see that in my future." Amid rumors that Parson's predecessor, Eric Greitens, who resigned over multiple scandals in 2018, would attempt to run for governor once again in 2020, Parson's team said they "doubt" the former governor would consider another gubernatorial run. The chairman of Parson's political action committee released a poll to see whether voters would vote for Greitens or Parson in a Republican primary election; the chairman then said, "I don't expect [Greitens] to run."

After denying implementation of voting by mail in Missouri, when asked about voters who have concerns about going to a polling place, Parson said such individuals should prioritize safety and not vote.

Parson defeated state representative Jim Neely and Air Force veteran Saundra McDowell in the Republican primary on August 4, 2020. He defeated Democratic nominee and state auditor Nicole Galloway in the general election on November 3, 2020.


In December 2018, Parson proposed repealing a voter-approved constitutional amendment to establish nonpartisan redistricting of state House and Senate districts. The Associated Press estimated that a nonpartisan redrawing of districts would likely increase Democrats' share of state House and Senate seats. At the same time, Parson expressed support for making it harder to put issues up for a ballot referendum.

On January 16, 2019, Parson delivered his first State of the State address to a joint session of the 100th General Assembly. His speech focused on two core priorities: workforce development and infrastructure.

In April 2019, Parson was named Person of the Year by the Missouri Association of Workforce Development for his related efforts across the state.

Mike Parson's personal life

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Photo: Mike Parson is married to his wife, Teresa. They have two children and five grandkids.

Parson married his wife, Teresa, in 1985. They have two children and live in Bolivar, Missouri. Parson endorsed Mitt Romney during the 2012 presidential election and Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

On September 23rd, Mike Parson said Wednesday he and his wife, Teresa, have tested positive for the coronavirus, prompting both to isolate from the public and postpone several events, including a ceremonial bill signing in St. Louis and a widely anticipated debate with Democratic challenger Nicole Galloway.

In a brief recorded statement, Parson said his wife was tested Wednesday morning after experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms; he then was tested despite not having any symptoms. A second test confirmed the first lady’s diagnosis; the governor said he was awaiting the results of a second test.

Barely a year into his first term as Missouri governor, Eric Greitens was thrust into the spotlight. An affair and allegations of blackmail and misuse of a charity donor list sent the Republican governor into a high-speed tailspin. Headlines threatening impeachment were rubber-stamped across the national media. Then on May 29, 2018, Greitens resigned. Three days later—as the state’s second in command—Parson became Missouri’s 57th governor, and plans of retirement and returning to the family farm in Bolivar were packed away.

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