(St.Joseph,MO) Only eleven days into his term, Missouri Governor Mike Parson is hitting the road to reconnect with Missourians.
Tuesday evening Governor Parson stopped on the campus of Missouri Western State University to meet with St. Joseph business owners and community leaders as a part of his Listening Tour.
"I think as we travel the whole purpose of what we're doing is to listen what the concerns are in communities all over the state," Parson said.
Parson said state infrastructure has been a major talking point when meeting with people throughout the state.
"I think we need to start taking care of our own things when it comes to highways, bridges, ports, airports; those are all things that are going to make a difference on how successful Missouri is to the future," Parson said.
In order to find skilled workers to build Missouri’s future highways and bridges, Parson said he will be taking a closer look at funding education.
"I don't foresee going down there [the capital] and cutting education and still trying to work towards workforce development. Those two things are going to have to expand. Those are two things that we are going to be pushing pretty hard to make sure we get done," Parson said.
The governor said he is taking a look at resources like rural broadband that are needed in local communities, and evaluating state resources to help build up businesses.
“We sit in the middle of the United States of America.We have some great things going in this state, we just need to capitalize off of them;working together with government and the private sector to figure out how we can do that,” Parson said.
Annette Weeks, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at Western, said the state making a push for education would help address the needs of more rural communities.
"The new governor being from a rural community understand the needs of northwest Missouri,” Weeks said. "Here in St.Joseph, 80 percent of our business entities are nine employees or less. That produces 20 percent of the jobs here in St.Joseph. In the rural communities, it's up to 50 percent of jobs are created from businesses nine employees or less."
Parson will continue his tour Wednesday morning at the University of Missouri in Columbia.