Gov. Jay Nixon has earned a second term
The Kansas City Star
Democrat Jay Nixon became Missouri’s governor four years ago in the chaos of a national economic collapse. He also has overseen the state’s responses to some of the worst natural disasters in its history.
Nixon has handled the crises well. His shrewd management of the budget spared Missouri some of the pain experienced by states across the country. He was a steady presence after tornados ravaged Joplin and other communities. His reactions to a summer of flooding and then a season of drought have been reassuring and creative.
Nixon’s leadership in tough times has earned him a second term. He makes a far better case for occupying the state’s top office than his GOP opponent, St. Louis businessman Dave Spence.
Spence’s ideas mirror the self-serving agenda of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce — basically favoring businesses at the expense of workers and consumers. Too often, when questioned about an issue or situation, Spence responds by saying he’ll figure things out once he gets into office. But the governor’s post is not the place for on-the-job training.
It is not the place for excessive caution, either. In a second term, Nixon must risk some of his ample political capital for the long-term well-being of Missouri’s citizens.
After an initial try, Nixon abandoned a campaign pledge from four years ago to get more low-income adults into the Medicaid program. He should take on that cause again.
He has been too tolerant of Missouri’s failure to adequately invest in education, public health and other essential services. Especially disappointing is his refusal to take a position on a Nov. 6 ballot measure that would increase Missouri’s lowest-in-the-nation cigarette tax and raise badly needed funds for schools and universities.
Considering he’s a Democratic governor working with the largest GOP legislative majority in the state’s history, Nixon has accomplished much in his first term.
He pushed for incentives for automakers, which paid off with Ford expanding its Claycomo plant and creating hundreds of new jobs. He worked with the legislature to have insurers pay for therapy for autistic children. He conceived an imaginative cost-sharing program to help slow the selloffs of livestock during this summer’s severe drought.
In a second term, Nixon would have a chance to think big and fight to improve the education and health of Missourians. Voters should give him that opportunity, and he should not waste it.