More than a hundred area residents turned out to share lunch with Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe on Wednesday during an event sponsored by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Community Bank and Trust. The luncheon was catered by Foods Unlimited Catering of Neosho.

More than a hundred area residents turned out to share lunch with Missouri Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe on Wednesday during an event sponsored by the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with Community Bank and Trust. The luncheon was catered by Foods Unlimited Catering of Neosho.

Rudy Farber, Chairman of Community Bank and Trust, introduced Kehoe.

"It is for me a real privilege to introduce our lieutenant governor," Farber told the assembled crowd. "I've had the privilege of knowing him for a number of years. He's a successful businessman and cattle rancher. In addition to his business acumen, he's a successful community leader. He also has the wonderful ability to bring people together. In my opinion he is one of the most decent, honorable people I have known in my life."

Kehoe took office on June 18, 2018, appointed by Gov. Mike Parson, who became governor on June 1 after the resignation of Eric Greitens.

"My life was all set to go back to the private sector in January 2019. We were term limited at the end of the year," Kehoe said. "My wife and I were ready to move onto the next chapter."

Kehoe previously served as a state senator for the 6th District in Missouri. He was first elected to the office in 2010 and reelected in 2014.

"We were humbled that Governor Parson called to help him get Missouri (going) in a good direction," Kehoe stated. "We're going in a good direction and he'll keep us there and take us to the next level."

Since Kehoe grew up in urban St. Louis but has spent much of his life in rural Missouri, where he owns a cattle ranch in Phelps County, he believes he has a unique perspective on both facets of life in the Show-Me State.

"We are one Missouri," he said. "We have differences, rural and urban, but when it comes right down to it, there's a lot of things in common we can work on together."

He listed some of the priorities for Missouri that he shares with Parsons, advocacy for veterans and veterans' issues, tourism, serving as ombudsmen for the elderly, and several specific projects.

Kehoe mentioned recent legislation that creates a perimeter around Camp Crowder national guard base, something he feels will help maintain Camp Crowder as the asset it is for Missouri and other states.

Another project Kehoe said he supports if the Crowder Global Gateway Intermodal Facility first proposed about 4 years ago. If completed, the transport hub facility would be located in the Crowder industrial complex and would combine truck and rail shipping for local manufacturers.

"This is a fantastic opportunity, when you look at the manufacturers that will be taking advantage of it," Kehoe said. "It moves the area, Newton and McDonald Counties, into a whole new stratosphere in economic development and job opportunities. I am very excited to be part of that project. I am committed to helping Rudy (Farber) and other leaders on that project."

He also spoke about the ongoing Bella Vista Bypass project that includes I-49 in Northwest Arkansas.

"We will do everything we can to work with MoDOT and other transportation leaders on that project."

Kehoe demonstrated enthusiasm for a project started by Parsons, Buy Missouri.

"It's a fantastic initiative," Kehoe stated.

Buy Missouri focuses on Missouri products, businesses, and services. A website will be available and the first Buy Missouri week starts on the second Saturday in October.

Kehoe also expressed his support for Proposition D, which will appear on the November 6 ballot.

Proposition D is a proposed motor fuels tax which, if approved, would apply to both gasoline and diesel fuels. "Prop D is something we're talking a lot about," Kehoe said.

The measure would provide funding for roads and bridges through MoDOT but would also provide some funding for the Missouri State Highway Patrol.

"Infrastructure is the key to economic development - it's unbelievably important. Infrastructure encompasses a lot of things, including roads and bridges, water, gas, electric."

The proposition calls for a 2 and 1/2 sales tax for a 4-year period. If approved by voters, Kehoe stated it will generate $288 million dollars for the road fund and around $124 million a year for the highway patrol.

For more information about Kehoe, visit https://ltgov.mo.gov/biography-mike-kehoe/