By Mike Scott
NEMOnews Media Group
The Trump Train Whistle-Stop campaign tour across northeast Missouri made a stop in Edina on Saturday afternoon, March 7. The tour had started the day in Hannibal and was slated to wrap up in Kirksville later in the afternoon.
Nearly 250 Republicans from Knox, Scotland, Lewis and Clark Counties packed into the Knox County Community Center to enjoy a catered meal and have the opportunity to meet several statewide Missouri elected officials, including Governor Mike Parson, Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft and State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick.
Fourth District State Representative Greg Sharpe and 18th District Senator Cindy O’Laughlin were also on hand, and were the lunch sponsors of event.
Rep. Sharpe had the honor of introducing Missouri’s 57th governor, Mike Parson. Sharpe noted that Parson had served in the U.S. Army, was formerly a small business owner, served 12 years as a county sheriff and is a farmer.
“I never thought a farmer would become the governor of Missouri, but I guess I’ve lived long enough to see it,” Sharpe said in his introduction.
After taking the stage, Parson joked, “There are so many flags flying and so many trucks parked outside, there are bound to be some rednecks here. I feel closer to home.”
And the crowd exploded with laughter.
“One of the things that we’re in desperate need of is people with common sense,” Parson continued, praising his fellow Republicans.
On President Trump, Parson had this to say:
“You may not like everything he says, or how he says it. You may not like his tweets. So what? One thing I do know is that he loves this country.”
Parson continued, reporting that Missouri has added over 40,000 jobs, and has over 42,000 people in career training programs. The state’s unemployment is at a record low 3.1 percent, and African American unemployment is down to 5.5 percent.
Parson joked about former Democrat presidential candidate Mike Bloomberg, who once said he could teach anybody to be a farmer.
“Wouldn’t you like to have him on the farm for just one day?” Parson asked.
He continued, warning the Republicans about the “crazy” ideas of the Democrats.
“We have to understand that’s real,” he said.
“Anytime the government comes to town with a bunch of free stuff, it means you’re paying for it,” he cautioned.
Parson also spoke about abortion, saying that when he ran for office in 2004, Missouri has 8000 abortions per year. In 2019, there were less than 1400, and so far in 2020 there have been seven.
“Pro-life means giving people the opportunity to live,” he said, asking the audience to think of the tens of thousands on young Missourian that are alive because of pro-life efforts.
“The 2020 election will be one of the most important ever in Missouri,” Parson said, noting that the next governor will likely appoint three or four justices to the Missouri Supreme Court.
Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe told the crowd that he grew up in north St. Louis, and his father left when he was one year old, and he was the youngest of six children. His single mother worked to support the family.
Kehoe, a former businessman, was elected to the state senate in 2011, and appointed to the Lt. Governor’s office in 2018.
“I can tell you that these things only happen in this country,” Kehoe said.
Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft commented that the number of people attending these campaign stops is incredible.
He quipped, “The Iowa Democrat party could count all the people,” a reference to this year’s Iowa Caucus confusion.
Ashcroft promised to protect the integrity of elections and promised that Missouri voters would have to show photo ID, despite a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision to the contrary.
“We will support the Constitution and protect elections,” Ashcroft said.
State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick started his own business while in high school, building and repairing boat docks near his home of Shell Knob, near the Arkansas border.
Fitzpatrick was first elected to the Missouri House in 2013, and later served as Chairman of the Budget Committee.
“I got into politics because I could see the impact government has on small business,” Fitzpatrick said.
During the afternoon, Governor Parson left the event unexpectedly. It was announced the he was returning to the airport and would not continue with the Trump Train to Kirksville. State Senator Cindy O’Laughlin left early to go to Kirksville and was not able to speak in Edina.
Later Saturday evening, Governor Parson held a press conference in Clayton, announcing the first presumed case of Coronavirus in Missouri.
At the end of the meeting, local county officials from Knox, Scotland, Clark and Lewis counties were introduced.
Th Edina stop of the Trump Train Whistle Stop tour was sponsored the Clark, Knox, Lewis and Scotland County Republican Central Committees.