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Missouri Gov. Parson meets with KC mayor in first week. Greitens took months

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson met with Kansas City Mayor Sly James on Tuesday, June 5, 2018.
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson met with Kansas City Mayor Sly James on Tuesday, June 5, 2018. Twitter/@MayorSlyJames

It took former Gov. Eric Greitens two months in office before he sat down for a meeting with Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

His successor, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, did it within his first week in office. It’s a noticeable shift in style and a sign that Kansas City may have better luck advancing its agenda now that Parson has assumed the office.

"I'm pleased that Governor Parson has embraced working with local elected officials," James said in a statement after Parson hosted him in Jefferson City Tuesday.

"Today's meeting sends a strong message that he is committed to listening to our ideas for moving our communities forward. He and I agreed to stay in close communication and collaborate on issues so that our entire state benefits. I'm excited to welcome him and the First Lady to Kansas City very soon."

In addition to James, Parson hosted mayors from Riverside, Columbia, St. Peters, Florissant and Jefferson City.

"I want mayors from urban areas to know what challenges are in rural Missouri. And I want rural Missouri mayors to know what challenges are in the urban areas and try to unite that front so that we can work together to get things done," Parson said Monday ahead of the meeting.

Kansas City officials anticipate that Parson, who officially became governor Friday following Greitens' resignation, will be more receptive to the city’s legislative priorities than Greitens, who occasionally appeared hostile toward the state's largest city.

Greitens rebuffed James' early attempts to schedule a meeting last year, only putting a meeting with the mayor on his calendar after inquiries from The Star, and he vehemently opposed one of the city's biggest legislative priorities.

Greitens vetoed a bill last year that would have provided funding for the University of Missouri-Kansas City to build a downtown arts campus, a proposal that Greitens lambasted on his Facebook page.

"Politicians are addicted to spending your money," Greitens said at the time. "This year, they passed a bill that would put taxpayers on the hook for over $75 million to build and run a conservatory for dancers and art students. I'm vetoing the bill, and I'm ready to fight them on this."

The Star's Jason Hancock contributed to this report.

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