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Editorial: The state we’re in

Mike Parson gave a speech last week. In case you had forgotten, Mike Parson is the governor of the great state of Missouri. We mention this because, since he took over the office from ousted Eric Greitens, Gov. Parson has been remarkably astute at avoiding any and all media attention.

That is not a criticism. That is exactly what he should have done.

The speech Parson gave was his first State of the State. He could have used this speech to step out of the shadows, to reintroduce himself to Missourians. He could have used the speech to lay out a clear vision of his own political and policy agenda.

He could have, but he did not.

Instead, Parson gave a speech that steered clear of controversial topics. He did not mention Clean Missouri or minimum wages or medical marijuana. Instead, he talked infrastructure. An important topic, but not one that causes television news directors to break in with special reports.

Parson said that we need to borrow some money to fix bridges. True. He said we need to prepare a “21st century workforce.” Also true. Both of those items are worthy, but they are worthy as filler for a broader vision – they are not the vision itself.

Following the tumultuous Eric Greitens governorship, Missouri needed some quiet dignity. Mike Parson was just the man for that job. Enough time has passed now, however, that he needs to transition from diplomat to leader.

There are sweeping changes happening in Missouri right now. Some we mentioned earlier, others include Medicaid expansion, sports gambling and education funding. Things are happening whether Parson likes it or not. In these times, we no longer need idleness from the CEO of our state. We need leadership. Parson could have used his State of the State address to signal that he is the leader we need.

He could have, but he did not.

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