Governor Eric Greitens gave a short inaugural speech, which given the chilly weather was a smart decision.
I wonder if he didn’t use a speechwriter. It sounded like a speech he may have written himself as the style was reminiscent of his book Resilience – a bit of a hodge-podge. For example: In fact, we should not agree on everything. Proverbs reminds us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The Lord put each of us here for a purpose. Sometimes the purpose of our opponents is to be our teachers.
Greitens signed an executive order to “take on the culture of corruption.”
No State Employee of the executive branch shall knowingly solicit or accept any gift from a lobbyist…. No Office of the Governor Employee shall, after the termination of his or her employment, act as an executive lobbyist during the Greitens administration… Any State Employee of the executive branch that violates this Order is subject to disciplinary action, up to termination of employment.
Young: Where the Devil Is
Former Post-Dispatch reporter Virginia Young worries that the executive order may hit bumps in the “details.” She tweeted… “No definition of "exec branch" & can he override merit system rules/fire offenders? #details”
A second observer had similar questions: I don't see how the governor can set such policies for other duly elected statewide officeholders, such as the AG, SOS, Treasurer...
Goguen at Inaugural?
Greitens’ $1 million donor Michael Goguen was spotted sitting on the inaugural platform (looks like just a row or two behind Speaker Todd Richardson). Goguen was sued by a woman who claimed she was owed millions. Her court filing is full of lurid details of their relationship. And it’s not pretty. When John Brunner referred to him as a “teen sex slave owner” during a debate, Goguen sued Brunner. That case is still active.
What’s Next for Greitens
Folks in Jeff City are expecting several announcements from Team Greitens.
Budget Part I
First, he has to deal with the budget. It possible he’ll announce withholds in the next few days so that the bad news of having to makes cuts doesn’t bleed into next week’s presumably upbeat “new direction” state of the state speech. The withholds will probably start with the state’s Facilities Maintenance Reserve Fund. It was the source of Jay Nixon’s withholds over his tenure, and it has the benefit of not immediately hurting anyone’s budget.
COO and other Department Heads
We’re still waiting on the COO announcement. One observer thought it could be Greitens’ treasurer Jeff Stuerman. We’ll see. With a lack of announcements on department heads, it appears that Greitens is leaving some Nixon folks in for the short-term. That’s raising some eyebrows… “They just are not nearly far enough along. Not claiming this is fatal – they can recover – but it clearly indicates not have their [stuff] together.”
The State of the State
A week from today is the state of the state address. The expectation is that Greitens will outline his legislative agenda.
In a conference call with reporters Austin Chambers organized the agenda into four categories: jobs, ethics, public safety, and education.
Under jobs: Greitens of course is pledging to sign right to work and the tort reform legislation that the legislature give him. Chambers also mentioned wanting to do something for veterans. (Unions will vainly make the point that there are plenty of vets in unions who don’t want right to work).
Under ethics: we’ll see how the lobbyist gift ban fares in the Senate. Last session Sen. Dave Schatz helped sink it. Will six months of the Republican governor campaigning against the corrupt career politicians help soften that resistance?
His public safety agenda: This could use some beefing up. As of the conference call he was in favor of sterner punishments for crimes against cops and the “blue alert” system. Nothing that will actually address crime has yet to be floated.
And education: Greitens seems to have settled on Education Saving Accounts. Here’s a quick summary of the concept. One imagines Greitens proposal will be limited in scope – kids with special needs in failing districts, for example – because the fiscal note can quickly mushroom otherwise.
Budget Part II
Finally by the end of the month, or maybe by the end of the first week of February, Greitens will unveil his budget. This unorthodox approach – decoupling the budget from the state of the state – give the new governor more time to look at the budget, but it will crunch the House timeline. They’re losing about two weeks. Still waiting on the consensus revenue estimate being made public. That will inform the context of the budget.
Roth on Wagner
Eddie Roth, who has held various positions in St. Louis City government under Mayor Francis Slay, has started blogging on Facebook, a page called Office of Special Inquiries and Reports. His latest post deals with Congresswoman Ann Wagner. See it here.
Certified for Circulation
Before leaving office Jason Kander announced that initiative petitions relating to marijuana reform and anti-right to work met the standard for circulation.
Politico reports that Kyle Reliford, husband of American Cancer’s Stacy Reliford, has joined America Rising. “Reliford – a notable name in the research world and who served as senior research consultant to the NRSC in 2016 -- is joining the team as director of special projects…” See it here.
St. Louis County is seeking “a Health and Welfare Benefit Consultant who will provide guidance and strategic direction in the administration of the County’s health, welfare, and voluntary benefits.” See it here.
A look at the Senate website shows the senators staffing up… Rachel Bauer to Sen. Denny Hoskin’s office; Greta Bax, and Liz Henderson to Sen. Jake Hummel’s office; Chandra Hendren to Sen. Bob Onder’s office; Daniel Wilhelm and Tom Estes to Sen. Andrew Koenig’s office; Tom Hoppe – leaving Sen. Jason Holsman’s office – and going to Sen. John Rizzo’s office; Debbie Mullally to Sen. Jason Holsman’s office; Jill Quick to Sen. Scott Sifton’s office; Carter Ballman and Jacob Scott to Sen. Bill Eigel’s office; and Seth Bundy joining the Minority Caucus Staff.
In the registrations below, Jason Zumkus hangs out a shingle.
Tony Dugger added Robertson Fire Protection District, The Firemen’s Retirement System of St. Louis, Saint Louis Police Officers Association, OneMain Financial Inc., Missouri manufactured Housing Association, International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 12 and 3, Citigroup Washington Inc., Isle of Capri Kansas City, Liberty Dental Plan, Missouri Pawn Brokers Association, IBM Corp, Burton-Liese Government Relations, Missouri Probation and Parole Officers Association, Stand Up Missouri, Isle of Capri Boonville, Data Recognition Corp, Metro-North Fire Protection District, Lady Luck Casino Caruthersville Isle of Capri, Isle of Capri Casinos Inc, Florissant Valley Fire Protection District, Isle of Capri Cape Girardeau, and Missouri State Fraternal Order of Police.
Jerry Burch added Kincaid Communications LLC; and deleted Jobs for America’s Graduates Missouri.
Richard AuBuchon and Richard Brownlee III added Missouri Retailers for Fair Competition.
Jeff Rainford added St. Louis Regional Chamber.
Jeff Aboussie added St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission.
Jason Zamkus added Zamkus and Associates LLC; and deleted Office of the Governor.
Lynn Schlosser added The Builders’ Association / KC Chapter AGC
Chris Molendorp added W.E. Shoehigh LLC on behalf of Microsoft Corporation.
Richard Brownlee III deleted Progressive Waste Solutions of MO Inc., and IESI Corporation.
Teamsters Local Union No 688 Political Action Committee - $11,135 from DRIVE Committee.
Local 41 Political Action Fund - $11,123 from DRIVE Committee.
Lyda Krewson for Mayor - $10,000 from Catherine Ruggeri-Rea.
Happy birthdays to Senator Roy Blunt, Carmen Schulze, Jaci Winship, Randy Jotte, and Trevor Fox.