Governor Michael L. Parson was sworn in to a full term as 57th Governor of the State of Missouri at the 2021 Bicentennial Inauguration.
Governor Parson’s career in public service began with six years in the United States Army and over 22 years in law enforcement, including serving as Sheriff of Polk County from 1993-2005. Prior to taking office as Governor in June 2018, Governor Parson served as the 47th Lieutenant Governor of Missouri and a member of Missouri’s General Assembly.
Governor Parson was sworn in by Judge Sarah A. Castle. Judge Castle was appointed by Governor Parson as Circuit Judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit on October 20, 2020. At the time of her appointment, Judge Castle was serving as Associate Circuit Judge of Division 27, having been appointed by the Governor to the bench on January 29, 2020. Judge Castle is the only judge to be appointed twice by Governor Parson.
The Bible used by Governor Parson during the swearing-in ceremony was a gift given to him by First Lady Teresa Parson.
Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick, Secretary of State John R. Ashcroft, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt were also sworn in during today’s inauguration ceremony. Oaths of office were administered by the following individuals:
- Missouri Supreme Court Judge Mary Russell for Lieutenant Governor Kehoe
- Johnnie Cox, Associate Circuit Judge for the 39th Judicial Circuit, for State Treasurer Fitzpatrick
- Jon Beetem, Presiding Circuit Judge for the 19th Judicial Circuit, for Secretary of State Ashcroft
- Thomas Albus, Circuit Judge for the 21st Judicial Circuit, for Attorney General Schmitt
Dr. Jonathan House, son-in-law of Governor Parson, and Ms. Alicia House, granddaughter of Governor Parson, performed the National Anthem. Musical selections were performed by the 135th Missouri Army National Guard Band and Missouri State University Chorale, and the Pledge of Allegiance was led by former Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) student and current Missouri S&T student Mr. John Sanders.
Dr. Ray Leininger, Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church in Bolivar, delivered the invocation, and the Most Reverend Bishop Shawn McKnight delivered the benediction. Scripture readings were recited by Rabbi Yosef David and Pastor John Modest Miles of Morning Star Baptist Church in Kansas City.
A 19-gun salute was also performed by the Missouri National Guard during the inauguration ceremony. The gun salute system has origins in naval tradition in which salutes were fired from warship cannons. According to the U.S. Army Center of Military History, warships originally fired 7-gun salutes with the number seven likely chosen because of its astrological and biblical significance.
The United States gun salute system has evolved today into a system of odd numbers indicating the rank of a military member or public servant. The 19-gun salute is reserved for the Vice President, Cabinet members, Chief Justice, governors of states, and general officers in the military of five-star rank, among others.
Today’s inauguration ceremony concluded with a special salute to Missouri signifying its entry as the 24th state in the United States 200 years ago. Approximately 2,000 guests were in attendance.
On Saturday, January 9, Governor Parson and First Lady Teresa Parson also attended two inaugural prayer services at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar. Information regarding future inaugural and bicentennial events, including the inaugural ball and parade, will be released at a later date.