SEDALIA, Mo. — Thursday at the Missouri State Fair was Governor’s Legislators’ and Judges’ Day – a day for Missouri’s political elite to rub shoulders with fair-goers celebrating the other theme for the day, ‘Throwback Thursday’.
Events kicked off bright and early with the Annual Governor’s Ham Breakfast in the Director’s Tent on the State Fairgrounds in Sedalia, where hundreds of gathered guests, politicians and media heard from many distinguished speakers, including Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture Chris Chinn and Gov. Mike Parson.
Shortly after the KMZU’s Brian Lock was able to ask Gov. Parson about his views on a ten-cent rise in Missouri’s gas tax, which will be put to voters on November’s ballot.
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“The reality of it is, we do have a certain amount of responsibility to keep our up in the state and I think [a gas tax] is one of the fairest ways to do it. I hope the people of the State of Missouri see that and see the vision that I see for Missouri.”
Gov. Parson explained that the gas tax would fund infrastructure projects as well as other measures, and he specifically highlighted the dilapidated conditions on many roadways across central and northwest Missouri. Parson also discussed a recent meeting with President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.
“We talked about infrastructure, we talked about workforce development, we talked about tariffs. His views are different to mine, to a certain degree. He was like any politician and asked about the election. He was very complimentary about the tax cuts done on the federal level and what we have done in Missouri.”
Gov. Parson, however, wasn’t the only politician at the fair Thursday. Josh Hawley, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, was also in attendance.
Hawley spent much of his time at the fair meeting with fair-goers and ag industry leaders. He also took to the back of a flatbed truck, an echo of his challenge to incumbent Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill, first laid out primary night, August 7, when he clenched his party’s nomination for McCaskill’s seat.
Flanked by banners declaring ‘Fire Claire!’ and a banner announcing ‘Let’s Debate’, Hawley again challenged McCaskill to a debate “on the back of a flatbed truck”. McCaskill, for her part, is insistent upon town-hall style debate, moderated by local journalists.
McCaskill was not in attendance at the fair yesterday, writing on Twitter, “Hate missing the ham breakfast @MoStateFair this morning. In DC working, hearing and votes this morning. Been going to that since I was a kid. Nice my sister is there saying hello for me.”
Hawley could not resist hitting out at the Democratic Senator from Rolla, who was first elected in 2006 and was reelected in 2012. Hawley is currently serving as Missouri Attorney General, a position he was elected to in November 2016.
Hawley said on Twitter McCaskill was “hiding out in Washington, D.C.” McCaskill returned fire, tweeting “CSPAN. Right now. Important hearing on unaccompanied children. Doing my job.”
Senate-watchers rate the Missouri Senate contest as among the hottest in the nation, with McCaskill facing an uphill battle in a state President Trump won by 19 points in 2016.