Two Sparta residents performed the national anthem at Missouri’s bicentennial inauguration ceremony in Jefferson City.
Dr. Jonathan House and Alicia House sung “The Star Spangled Banner” as part of the inauguration ceremony for Gov. Mike Parson as the 57th full-term governor of Missouri. Jonathan House is the governor’s son-in-law, while Alicia House is one of Parson’s granddaughters.
Parson said that having members of his family close by was important to him on the day of the inauguration.
“What a special day for me, and my family. I never imagined I would be in the role I was, taking the oath of office for the people in this state today. As I think about where I came from, from a very humble beginning, and what the future holds for me and my family, and what it holds for all Missourians—it was just a special occasion today,” Parson said.
The governor described driving from his family’s home in Bolivar to Jefferson City on Sunday, and how he spent a couple of quiet hours in the car reflecting on his time spent as governor.
“It seems like it was just one thing after another, after another,” Parson said.
Parson became governor in 2018. He was Missouri’s lieutenant governor at the time that Eric Greitens resigned after five months of controversy that included him being indicted on a felony invasion of privacy charge, the public disclosure of an affair he had with a hairdresser during his gubernatorial campaign, impeachment proceedings in the Missouri House of Representatives, questions of his campaign financing and use of a nonprofit organization’s resources to benefit his campaign, and a felony indictment on charges of computer tampering.
With 1.7 million votes, and 57.1 percent of the popular vote, Parson defeated Democrat Nicole Galloway with the governor’s office outright in the November 2020 election.
Parson also talked business in the moments after the ceremony. Namely, the business of pulling Missouri through COVID-19, a virus that the governor and First Lady Teresa Parson both contracted in 2020.
“We’ve still got to deal with COVID-19, that liability is still out there, that’s so real. I’m thankful the vaccine process is going well,” Parson said.
Missouri cleared 150,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered to health care workers and long term care facility residents. The state enters “Phase 1B” of its vaccination plan in mid-January.
COVID-19 will also impact Parson’s influence of the 2021 session of the Missouri General Assembly, the governor said, especially in health care legislation and in laws that affect the way goods and services are taxed on the internet.
“Trying times expose you to some things that you know you need to do a better job, so I think you’ll see things like telemedicine, telehealth that will be a priority. I think wayfair is something we’re going to have to really hard look at this year. We know how that’s affected us when we did have a lot of people staying at home and how much of a disadvantage it was for local Missouri businesses,” Parson said.
The event on Jan. 11 also marked swearing in ceremonies for Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, Secretary of State John R. “Jay” Ashcroft and Attorney General Eric Schmitt. All five of the officeholders inaugurated on Jan. 11 are Republicans, and all five are returning to office upon their reelections in 2020.
The inauguration ceremony concluded with a special salute to Missouri signifying its entry as the 24th state in the United States 200 years ago. Approximately 2,000 guests were in attendance.