Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe announced Monday he is running for a full four-year term in 2020.
The news wasn’t unexpected. When Gov. Mike Parson announced he was seeking a full four-year term it was widely assumed Kehoe would do likewise. Parson appointed Kehoe, a fellow Republican and his longtime colleague in the Missouri Senate, in June of last year following the Eric Greitens scandal and resignation.
Ever since then, Parson and Kehoe have made a solid one-two punch as governor and lieutenant governor. They have a strong working relationship. Neither are flashy but both have provided steady leadership for the state. That has been a welcome change.
Kehoe is a native of north St. Louis who moved to mid-Missouri some 30 years ago and is a successful, self-made businessman. Like Parson, he also has a background in farming, understands the Legislature and has a firm grasp on the challenges and opportunities for our state. He has been known to reach across the aisle to get things done.
At his campaign kickoff, Kehoe pledged to focus on veterans, transportation and agriculture issues. We like the fact that Kehoe recognizes the need for a long-term transportation solution for Missouri. He knows the funding plan passed last year by the Legislature isn’t enough to solve Missouri’s aging and deteriorating transportation infrastructure.
The chief responsibilities of the lieutenant governor are to assume the duties of governor if the governor dies, has to leave the state for a long period of time or becomes ill or disabled. In that regard, he is like a vice president, even though they don’t always run on the same ticket.
But when it comes to Parson and Kehoe, they might as well be on the same ticket. They are that close. An example of that closeness occurred when Parson left the country earlier in the year. The governor appointed Kehoe as acting governor while he was away. Makes sense, but it hasn’t always worked out that way in the past.
Because they are elected separately, the governor and lieutenant governor can be from different parties. That was the case not too long ago with Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, and Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican. The two politicians rarely spoke or collaborated. When Nixon left the country on state business he did not appoint Kinder as acting governor because he didn’t trust him.
That isn’t the case with Parson and Kehoe. They are on the same page.
Kehoe has proven he is up to the task of being lieutenant governor. He is a decent, sincere and hard-working public servant. He will be hard to beat.