The abrupt resignation of Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens yesterday – after months of defending himself during investigations of a sex scandal and misused donor funds – set off a flurry of statements issued by legislators and government officials across Missouri.
Here’s a roundup of the commentary, beginning with Lt. Gov. Mike Parson, who officially succeeds Greitens at 5 p.m. Friday. Parson has declined immediate media interviews.
“With Gov. Greitens’ decision to resign from office, he has put the best interests of our state and all Missourians at the forefront where they belong. This is a decision that will allow our state to heal and move forward from what has been a difficult time. This is an enormous responsibility serving as our state’s next governor, and I am ready to fulfill the duties of the office with honor and integrity, and with a steadfast commitment to making our great state even greater for the people we are entrusted to serve.”
Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr and Majority Floor Leader Rob Vescovo, in a joint statement:
“We believe the governor has put the best interest of Missourians first today by choosing to resign. The past few months have been difficult for everyone involved, including the governor and his family. This is a serious and solemn occasion that reminds us that our state and our duty are bigger than any one person or party.
“The House stands ready to help ensure a smooth transition of power to Gov. Parson. The hallmark of democracy is that our public service is temporary. Missouri has been blessed with an unbroken line of men and women in public service who have worked to make our state better, and the work of the many dedicated public servants, who work tirelessly for the people of Missouri, will continue.
“The responsibility the House undertook with its investigation is not a path any of us would have chosen, but it is one we were obligated to pursue in an effort to do what is best for our state. We want to thank the members of the Special Investigative Committee on Oversight for the serious and professional manner in which they went about their task. We also want to thank the staff for the countless hours and sacrifices they made.
“As public servants, our solemn duty is to put the best interests of the people of this great state first in every decision we make. The governor’s decision today honors that duty and allows Missouri to move forward toward a better tomorrow.”
Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway:
“Corruption in state government became worse than ever under Eric Greitens. That corruption must be cleaned up, and our state’s reputation must be restored. This can only happen if leaders put the needs of Missourians ahead of themselves.”
Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley:
“Gov. Greitens has done the right thing today. I wish incoming Gov. Mike Parson well, and stand ready to assist him in his transition. This office’s work for the people of Missouri goes forward.”
Missouri Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Webber:
“While corruption ended Eric Greitens’ career as a politician, his schemes to slash workers’ pay and rip health care away from vulnerable seniors continue to hurt Missourians. Republicans in Jefferson City were wrong to follow Greitens’ lead and actively assist his attacks on the middle class. Missouri Democrats will continue to work to undo the damage done by Eric Greitens and his Republican cronies."
Missouri GOP Chairman Todd Graves:
“Throughout his tenure as a sheriff, state representative and state senator, Mike [Parson] has always worked hard for Missourians, and I am certain he will continue to hold a strong commitment to our state as governor. There is no doubt our party has faced a difficult couple of months – but make no mistake – Missouri Republicans know there is much at stake this November and we will be united in our efforts to champion common sense conservative values across the board.
“The Missouri Republican Party looks forward to working with Mike Parson to defend our veto-proof majorities in the House and Senate. In addition, a united Republican Party will now focus on our No. 1 goal: retiring Claire McCaskill from the United States Senate.”
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt:
“The governor made the best decision for his family and the state. I look forward to Gov. Parson’s leadership and will do everything I can to be helpful.”
U.S. Rep. Billy Long:
“As the unfortunate saga of the Gov. Greitens’ era comes to a close, it’s time for all Missourians to pull together, as we have so many times in the past, for our great state. I hope everyone will join me in supporting Lt. Gov. Parson in his new role. This is the Show-Me State after all. Now let’s show them we can all work together for our citizens moving forward.”
Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin:
“The last five months have been trying times for our state. Relationships were strained, and bonds were tested. When the governor took office in January of 2017, I had very high hopes. I believed we were on the path to building a better Missouri. This is not the position I imagined we would be in nearly 16 months later. However, I do believe the governor made the right decision.
“The governor’s office is bigger than one person. Missouri is strong. Just this session, the legislature set the framework for greater economic growth. I have full confidence that Lt. Gov. Mike Parson and other leaders across the state will continue building a better Missouri, while leading with conservative values. I can assure you, no matter what happens next, Missouri is in good hands.”
Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City:
“The governor’s announcement marks the conclusion to a drama that has drawn on for far too long. It is regrettable the state of Missouri is in this position, but far more regrettable would have been for this spectacle to continue to drag on.
For all practical purposes, Missouri has been without a governor for the last five months, with the President Pro Tem and the Speaker of the House leading the state in the governor’s absence. Our founding fathers designed a system of government to ensure Missouri is more than one individual, and this will be proven true again in the coming weeks and months.”
Missouri Rep. Crystal Quade:
“It’s a sad day for our institution. Hopeful moving forward we can restore Missourian’s faith in government.”
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure:
“I am very optimistic about what I am sure will be our state’s continued growth and vitality under Gov. Parson’s leadership. On behalf of the city of Springfield, I pledge the city’s full support to Gov. Parson and his administration.”
Rhonda Lewsader now leads the city of Springfield’s law department as city attorney after two decades of service.
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