Updated at 9:54 p.m. with the hiring of Parson's chief of staff - Mike Parson kicked off his first full week as Missouri’s governor by meeting with the state’s cabinet members, all chosen by his predecessor, Eric Greitens.
The meeting was held Monday in private, inside the governor’s office, but Parson did briefly meet with reporters beforehand. He said he has no intention of replacing any of Greitens’ chosen agency heads.
“Gov. Greitens brought together a good team to the state of Missouri,” he said. “All I want to do is be a resource for them – I want to work with the cabinet because there are a lot of good things going on in the state of Missouri and we need to continue the things that are good.”
Parson has made at least three new hires, though. Aaron Willard has been tabbed as chief of staff. He also served as chief of staff for former House Speaker Rod Jetton, R-Marble Hill, and more recently for former State Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City. But perhaps the most significant item on Willard's resume is Missouri state director for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, has resigned his seat in the Missouri House to become the new governor’s legislative director. Steele Shippy has been brought on board as communications director; he had been serving as deputy chief of staff for Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft.
Kelli Jones, who worked as Parson’s communications coordinator when he was lieutenant governor, will likely become press secretary.
Parson also said he’s open to calling a special legislative session to address the current vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office. The state constitution addresses filling vacancies for every statewide office except the one that Parson just left in order to take over as governor.
“I don’t like the state of Missouri being without a lieutenant governor, and for me I aim to use that position to help with this transition,” he said. “If there’s ever a time those two offices need to be working together, it’s now.”
Parson didn’t mention any possible date for a special session.
In November 2000, Gov. Roger Wilson appointed Joe Maxwell to fill the then-vacant lieutenant governor’s office. However, Maxwell had been elected to the position and at the time was waiting to be inaugurated the following January. The month prior, Wilson took over as governor after the death of Mel Carnahan.
Parson also received a phone call Monday morning from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
“He’s offered his services to Missouri, whatever he can do in that arena,” Parson said.
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