The face of Missouri
There's only one election that matters on November 3rd, and it's not for president. Missouri's electoral votes are not a factor and our votes won't much matter there. The statewide vote on "Dirty Missouri" and gerrymandering apparently doesn't matter either, because the Missouri legislature feels like they can just go behind our backs and do whatever they want anyway. No, the only statewide race that matters this year is for governor.
Missouri has had a mediocre slate of governors the past two decades, which I guess is fitting because we've been acting like a mediocre state. The governor of Missouri is the face of the state that everybody else looks to as a representation of its people. It's not low tax rates or snazzy tourist brochures that draw tourists and businesses to Missouri, it's the land and its people. We've got the land- rich farmlands, beautiful lakes and streams, and cheaper real estate prices, and we've got the people- wonderful, smart, hard-working people all over the state. But the way we treat our people, especially those who are young, old, or struggling, leaves a lot to be desired.
The default choice this year is the current governor, Mike Parson, who took over for the disgraced Eric Greitens and did his best. Governor Parson is a decent man, and he looks the role, but he's failed us in his audition to be the face of Missouri. People all over the country laughed at his soft-pedaling of the Covid virus, saying it's okay for school children to get the disease and pass it to their parents, and that the "dang" masks are more of a nuisance than a public health necessity.
I know I shouldn't, but sometimes I get tempted to click on the comments section off stories that involve Missouri on the internet, and it's depressing. Folks all over the country are laughing at us. It's embarrassing. We're now known for our clueless governor, the gun-toting McCloskeys, the Netflix show "Ozark", and Covid central at the Lake of the Ozarks.
Governor Parson has been on the wrong side of every statewide vote since he took office, including Right to Work, Medicaid expansion, and Clean Missouri. Before he was governor, he was the one who introduced a bill to overturn a voter initiative that had already passed on puppy mill regulations. He and the Republicans in Jefferson City have ignored the will of the people and done their best to overturn it.
He's shown no leadership on race or crime besides a worthless special session. And given the biggest statewide emergency in a century he's stood by idly as Missouri has been declared a Covid Red Zone and thousands of bikers descended on the lake while rural areas looked to him and President Trump for non-existent role models.
Which brings me to Nicole Galloway. True, she doesn't look like a governor, (probably because Missouri's never had a female governor before.) Her positions are in line with those of Claire McCaskill and Jay Nixon, moderate politicians that fit the old Missouri I used to know. Ms. Galloway appears to be saying the right things on issues that matter to Missourians, but the big reason I support her is because she's a CPA.
Hear me out Missouri. I'm a certified public accountant. CPA's rarely run for public office, and in my opinion we need a lot more of them, (and a lot fewer lawyers) in government. Certified public accountants are the backbone of our financial system. Their auditing and oversight keeps everybody honest. They are trained to be curious, independent, thorough, and skeptical. Most importantly, they're trained extensively in ethics, and take an oath to abide by strict rules of professional conduct.
Ms. Galloway has served the state admirably as state auditor, uncovering hundreds of millions of dollars of waste, fraud, and abuse. She is also a certified fraud examiner, an extra designation that means she's trained in how to detect lies and deceptions. Her brand of honesty and professionalism is much needed in Jefferson City. (False and deceptive tv ads notwithstanding.)
We need a new face for our state- one that is friendlier and more inviting (especially to folks seeking diversity and opportunity), and one that is guided by facts, science, and professionalism. Missouri's governor is as much a spokesman for the state as he/she is an executive or politician. He or she is often the first thing that pops into people's mind when they think of Missouri. We will need to put our best face forward if we want the rest of the world to come vacation, work, or live here.