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Missouri's new lieutenant governor says he's moving forward despite lawsuit

Missouri's new lieutenant governor says he's moving forward despite lawsuit

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JEFFERSON CITY • Missouri’s new lieutenant governor said he’s moving forward with his duties despite a pending lawsuit seeking to rescind his appointment.

Former Senate Majority Floor Leader Mike Kehoe, who was sworn into office Monday, said Wednesday it was not surprising that Democrats filed a lawsuit seeking to nullify the action taken by Gov. Mike Parson.

“I think most people thought something would come forward,” said Kehoe, a 56-year-old Jefferson City Republican.

Hours after Parson named Kehoe to the post Parson had held since January 2017, the Missouri Democratic Party filed a lawsuit targeting the legal and constitutional questions that surround the ability of a chief executive to fill a vacancy in the lieutenant governor’s office.

“Governor Parson is without legal authority to appoint a Lieutenant Governor,” the suit asserts.

Parson, also a Republican, moved into the top spot on June 1 after the abrupt resignation of then- Gov. Eric Greitens. Kehoe believes Parson’s advisers gave him the right advice on filling the lieutenant governor vacancy.

“I don’t think he would have made the decision to appoint and I wouldn’t have made the decision to accept if I didn’t think he had a pretty good legal team advising him on this,”

Kehoe, who was term limited and set to exit the Legislature in December, is set to serve the remainder of the term, which ends in January 2021.

“I had no absolute thought of becoming a longtime politician,” said Kehoe, a former car salesman and small business owner. “I was ready to be done in December of 2018 and go back and do one of my business careers.”

For now, Kehoe and his staff remain in his Senate suite on the Capitol's 3rd floor. But, he said that’s not because of the uncertainty surrounding the lawsuit.

Rather, he said the lieutenant governor’s office on the 2nd floor is being painted and won’t be ready for at least a week.

Since taking over, Kehoe has spoken with state, federal and local officials, including St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson. 

“The courts will decide and I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing,” Kehoe said.

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