By Mike Scott
Despite icy road conditions across much of Missouri last Thursday, state government officials met with members of the Missouri Press Association the organization’s annual Day at the Capitol.
Although the ice kept some speakers away, press members heard from the new President of the University of Missouri system, Gary Forsee, as well as State Auditor Susan Montee, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Kenny Hulshof, Attorney General and rival gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon, and Governor Matt Blunt.
Susan Montee is the only statewide official who is not running for office this year.
“That frees me up to do a lot of things-like auditing,” Montee quipped.
One of the areas Montee discussed was her audit of the governor’s office.
“One of the issues we have found. . . is that we have some issues with how we are dealing with the use of state resources,” Montee said, citing problems in both the Attorney General’s and Lt. Governor’s offices.
“We have a constitutional provision which say you don’t use state resources for personal or political purposes,” Montee said.
Clouding the issue is a state law which provides transportation and security for the governor and his family. Montee concluded that since we will have a new governor, this is the time to clarify the interpretation of that law.
Robin Carnahan said, “We have three federal elections this year--one down and two to go,” Carnahan said.
Carnahan predicts an 80% turnout for the general election.
Carnahan also unveiled a new program, the Missouri Investor Protection Center.
“The website puts investor education materials at people’s fingertips,” said Carnahan. She said her office investigate over 30 “Free Lunch” investment seminars last year. For more information on the program, visit www.MissouriSafe Savings.com.
U.S. Representative Kenny Hulshof, who recently announced his bid for the Republican nomination for governor .
“It has been an extraordinary privilege over these last twelve years to walk the halls of Congress,” Hulshof said. “Being able to walk the marble halls after walking barefoot through our cotton fields--that in essence is the Missouri dream. It is timeless. It is universal, and we can continue to restore its luster.”
Hulshof praised the tough decisions made by governor and legislature, including a turnaround of the state budget, jobs fleeing the state, elimination of runaway lawsuits, and changes in Medicaid
Questioned about how he feels about the state senate passing a measure to repeal campaign finance, Hulshof stated his campaign would follow the law, but he would like to see additional disclosures.
The other Republican candidate, Sarah Steelman, was not able to attend due to the weather.
Attorney General Jay Nixon, Democrat candidate for governor, said he has restored the integrity of the his office.
Nixon touted the efficiency of his office, and his impact on the Sunshine Law and ethics in government.
“We’ve had hundreds of Sunshine Law inquiries each year,” Nixon said.
When Nixon was asked about campaign financing, he rejected the senate’s plan, stating that a broad base of financial support is important, and that voters made their position clear when they voted for limits.