Split your ticket: Vote for the person, not the party. All Democrats are not created equal. Neither are all Republicans.

This is about the governor of Missouri. I am 100% for Mike Parson. I have been in the audience several times as he spoke, and my overriding thought afterward was always: “He is such a decent person.”

When the press focused on him as he was suddenly thrust into the governorship, I was pleased by the fact that they, the often-skeptical press, seemed to agree. “Let Mike be Mike,” they admonished his handlers. “He’s a natural.” One reporter said something on the order of “I believe he really is what he appears to be.”

I have worked for agriculture in Missouri since 1976 through several governors, and he seems to be the most real, the most down-to-earth; ... well, Kit Bond, Mel Carnahan and Roger Wilson were all good that way too, come to think of it.

Gov. Parson has many credentials:

  • Small farmer (cow/calf operation); our No. 1 economic driver is agriculture; way ahead of No. 2: tourism.
  • Served in the military six years, sheriff 22 years.
  • Has been elected to a seat for six years in the Missouri House of Representatives and six years in the Senate.
  • Has been on the hot seat as governor during what may be one of the most challenging times of the office.
  • Strongly associated with two vital objectives: workforce development and infrastructure upgrades.

One friend in his hometown said, “He has everybody’s best interest at heart;” another said: “He’ll work as hard for his opponents as for his friends.”

He is managing as well as anyone could in the time of COVID-19. The situation is impossible. No matter what the governor does, it will be the wrong thing to a huge number of the governed. Anyone would be constantly criticized in this climate. We can second-guess what should be done all day long, but it’s like herding turtles. Nothing ever proceeds in a straight line, and we’re still far from knowing what would have been or will be the best course in the future.

He knows the broad state of Missouri, the Capitol, the legislative process, the legislators and the law. He is a nice, honest person. I hope you all agree, and “split your ticket” as you decide who will be our state leader for the next four years.

Jo Manhart is a Columbia resident.


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