Missouri's Lt. Gov. Mike Parson was the keynote speaker during Tuesday's Annual Free Watermelon Feed, co-hosted by the Republican Women of Newton County and the Newton County Republican Central Committee, at Big Spring Park, Neosho.

Missouri's Lt. Gov. Mike Parson was the keynote speaker during Tuesday's  Annual Free Watermelon Feed, co-hosted by the Republican Women of Newton County and the Newton County Republican Central Committee, at Big Spring Park, Neosho.
Those in attendance had the opportunity to have some watermelon, ice cream, participate in the straw quiz and listen to what Parson had to say.
After giving an outlook of what has happened in Jefferson City since he took office, Parson also spoke about a new program.
"'Buy Missouri,' we are excited about pushing that, we are really going to talk about Missouri businesses, Missouri products and really encourage people to buy from those people," he said. "'Buy Missouri' is going to be what we did over the time. We went around to different businesses around the state, we found out that there were businesses that make breakfast cereal, there is businesses that makes windows, there are businesses that make La-Z-Boy recliners, and we want to highlight those businesses. So if a consumer goes into a store, that you would have some sort of an idea, that was a Missouri business that made that product. So when you go look at it on the shelf, hopefully that person if you are from Missouri is going to try support those Missouri businesses and buy that off of the shelves. It is a huge program, but there are thousands and thousands of items that are made in Missouri that we - as the normal person - including myself - didn't know that they were made here."
Parson said the new program will begin in about a month.
"We are working with the retail side of it, so if you go to the grocery store, maybe we are going to have a label or we can get them to label that that said, 'this is a Missouri product,' and you have a choice to buy that or not. It is exciting and there should be some good opportunists for that."

State's economy
Parson said the state's economy is changing since he took office.
"You see construction which is huge to our state's economy and you see that going on everywhere," he said. "You see people with 'help wanted' signs out, every business that you go to whether it would be the manufacturing side or the retail side, people are looking for quality workers. Now one thing that we fell behind in Missouri that we have to do a better job of, we have to do a better job on our skilled workforce."