Missouri’s lieutenant governor believes the state still has work to do on two issues that are once again being touted as top priorities ahead of next year’s legislative session.
“We’ll continue to work on the governor’s priorities, which are workforce development and infrastructure,” Mike Kehoe said. “We have made some great strides in that, but Missouri still has some ways to go on both of those issues.”
Kehoe was appointed to his current position by his predecessor, now-Gov. Mike Parson, who ascended to the state’s top executive post following the resignation of Eric Greitens.
Before Parson ran for Kehoe’s current position in 2016, the two served together in the Missouri Senate. Because of their time together there, Kehoe said he has taken on an active role in his current position, which is constitutionally limited.
“Gov. Parson is great to work for so that makes it a little bit easier,” he told News-Press NOW. “The guy you work with every day is someone you’ve known for a long time.”
Kehoe said the two have similar styles that make it “less difficult” to be working in his current capacity, which involves rallying legislators around the administration’s agenda.
“It puts me in a good position to help advance his priorities with some of the senators,” Kehoe said. “I can have some behind-the-scenes time to explain to them why this is important to Missouri.”
Regarding the priority of infrastructure, Kehoe, a former car dealership owner, said the state needs more than a Band-Aid when it comes to adequately funding transportation needs.
“I’ve been around the transportation game a long time,” he said. “There’s not a lot of magic wands or another state that has some secret recipe that we didn’t try yet.”
The Republican said there were three or four viable options for Missouri: a gas tax, a sales tax, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) or toll roads.
While he believes all of the options need to be on the table for the coming legislative session, Kehoe does not predict the gas tax will be one of them.
“I think gas tax enters the conversation sometime again, but I don’t think it will happen this year,” Kehoe said. “We have the 49th lowest gas tax in the nation and we have seventh largest highway system, and so it’s two numbers that don’t match up that well so I’m sure it will come up, but I don’t think it will come up this year.”
Kehoe’s legislative experience is just one of the things he touts as he gears up for his first statewide election.
“Missourians like the resonated factor that the governor and I are out there talking about working together and trying to move something forward,” he said.
Kehoe certainty has geared himself up for a statewide campaign, raking in tens of thousands of dollars ahead of the 2020 election.
A News-Press NOW analysis of campaign finance reports shows Kehoe with a stacked war chest. After three fundraising quarters this year, Kehoe’s campaign has close to $335,000 cash-on-hand before next year’s election.
The lieutenant governor also highlighted the “Buy Missouri” program, which he helps to oversee.
“We identify companies that make products here in Missouri and make those products available for purchase,” he said.