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In his first visit to the Chamber as the state’s new governor, Mike Parson met with business, education and community leaders to talk about the importance of investing in infrastructure and workforce training – and maintaining a spirit of cooperation between city and state leaders.
The visit was the first of nine stops on a whirlwind two-day listening tour that took Gov. Parson to all corners of the Show-Me State in an effort to discuss the importance of economic and workforce development issues.
On the top of the governor’s list of priorities is infrastructure development. He noted the need to address funding issues for the state’s transportation network, and that it is critical that we invest in our roads and bridges.
“We have a great opportunity to move forward - but it will take bold initiatives we might have been hesitant to do in the past,” he said. “I am tired of talking about it. I want to get things done.”
He also noted the need to continue focusing on workforce skills training. He cited the successful passage of funding reauthorization for the Missouri Works Customized Training program as a good example and said even more programs of this type will be needed in the future.
Chamber president Matt Morrow praised the Governor’s focus as right in line with the needs of the business community. “The governor’s priorities are our priorities – focusing on skills training and workforce development allows us to continue competing for talent and growing our community,” he said. “If we want to continue to thrive as a community and a state, we’ll need to focus on helping people develop the skills to be successful today and tomorrow.”
Gov. Parson also cited the need for cooperation – between state leaders and those at the community level, and between those in urban areas and more rural parts of the state. He discussed sitting down with mayors from St. Louis and Kansas City and pledging to bring them to other parts of Missouri so that everyone has a feel for the viewpoints of their fellow Missourians. He also spoke about the need for the executive branch to work together with the legislature; he noted that no matter your party, most people in Jefferson City want to make a difference and serve their state.
Mayor Ken McClure echoed the governor’s sentiments in welcoming Parson to Springfield. “He’s one of us,” he said. “He understands the issues, the challenges and the opportunities we face.”
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