Parson sworn in Alferman joins staff

Dave Marner

JEFFERSON CITY — State Rep. Justin Alferman has resigned his 61st District seat to join newly sworn-in Gov. Mike Parson’s staff as legislative director. 

Elected to the House seat representing the area including the northern half of Gasconade County in 2014, Alferman, a Republican from Hermann, will work with House and Senate members to promote the governor’s legislative priorities. 

Parson, a Republican from Bolivar, was elected in 2016 as lieutenant governor after serving previously as a state senator, representative and sheriff of Polk County.

Parson replaced Eric Greitens who announced his plans on May 29 to resign as governor effective June 1.

 Alferman’s duties include directing a group of liaisons who will work with elected officials in both chambers to further the Parson administration’s agenda and pass legislation.

Gasconade County Clerk Lesa Lietzow said she had not received official confirmation of when a special filing period will be opened for those interested in running the 61st House District seat. She will announce the filing period, which could be a limited 5-day period, once she receives word from state election officials. Alferman was the only Republican to file for the Aug. 7 Primary Election.

Pamela A. Menefee, of Washington, was the lone Democrat to file for the Primary Election in the 61st District.

Alferman will also help with budget preparations for the governor. He was vice chairman of the House Budget Committee.

Parson also named Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s former deputy chief of staff Steele Shippy as his communications director. On Tuesday, Parson met with former cabinet members of Greitens’ administration and told the media he would keep them as part of his administration.

“Public service is a privilege,” he said in remarks after being sworn in at the Capitol. “I pledge to all Missourians to work hard each and every day to bring honor, integrity and transparency to the governor’s office.”

In his brief address to the media and about 30 invited guest for his swearing-in ceremony in the Governor’s office, Parson said he wanted to mend relationships among elected legislators.

“We have an opportunity beginning today for a fresh start in state government,” Parson said. “There’s many, many common grounds for the state of Missouri such as infrastructure and workforce development. My purpose for being the governor will be to try to bring people together to try and move the state of Missouri forward for what’s best for the state of Missouri.”

He also told the group, “Public service is a privilege. I pledge to all Missourians to work hard each and every day to bring honor, integrity and transparency to the governor’s office.”

Parson is scheduled to address a special joint session of the House and Senate at 5 p.m. on Monday at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

Parson said he would like to implement legislation which would call for the appointment of a lieutenant governor to replace the position he vacated to take over from Greitens. State law currently has no provisions for replacing a lieutenant governor.

Parson’s accent to the governor’s office was well received in Missouri’s agricultural community.

“Throughout his service, Governor Parson has been an advocate for agriculture,” according to Missouri Farm Bureau officials in a statement. “He received the MOFB Friend of Agriculture Award while serving in the House and was endorsed by MOFB in both of his Senate elections. Governor Parson was instrumental in the passage of the Right to Farm Amendment. MOFB looks forward to working with Governor Parson.”