Gov. Mike Parson proceeded with an event at a state office building last month after staff warned his office of a cluster of COVID-19 cases among state workers in the building, according to emails obtained by the Post-Dispatch.Parson, a Republican running for a four-year term, was diagnosed with COVID-19 a week after the visit, on Sept. 23, and began a 10-day isolation period at the Governor’s Mansion.The emails show that Lori Croy, a public relations officer at the Department of Commerce and Insurance, asked Kelli Jones, Parson’s spokeswoman, on Sept. 13 whether the governor wanted to move forward with an event at the Harry S Truman State Office Building on Sept. 16 “given the building situation.”
In a Wednesday press briefing, Governor Parson announced the special session will begin on Thursday, November 5.
Its central focus will be on utilizing additional federal funding, including CARES Act funds, that have been made available to the state in the months following the General Assembly passing the FY 2021 budget in May.
The supplemental budget will provide access to this funding, which is intended to appropriate additional resources to respond to COVID-19.
St. Louis American: As Missouri’s governor, what would you do differently regarding the COVID-19 crisis?
Nicole Galloway: Missouri needs a total reset on our COVID strategy because Gov. Parson’s plan is trending us in the wrong direction. He talks a lot about the four pillars of his plan, but these pillars are collapsing in on themselves. You know, our schools are not open fully for in-person learning, first-time jobless claims were up again last week, hospitalizations are surging everywhere. We cannot continue down this path and recover economically.
And so, my plan is based on data, on mitigation, on science, on containment, on testing, on having a statewide mask order. A statewide mask rule is important because it's a science-backed data-proven way to contain the spread of the virus. We know the virus does not respect county lines, and I believe in taking these approaches to protect the public health.
We also need to get our CARES Act money unstuck. There are hundreds of millions of dollars that are sitting at the state level not being deployed effectively for testing, for PPE, for contact tracing, to help small businesses get through this.
We have some of the most restrictive unemployment benefits in the country here in Missouri. We cannot let people fall through the cracks in this crisis, because it's going to be so hard to pull them back up. And so, people are hurting, they need help right now.
And Gov. Parson has just declared mission accomplished over COVID in May. It is not over. And we need a real plan with real engagement from our governor to get this virus under control.
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