Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says if he’s re-elected he will continue to focus on improving the economy, making state government more efficient and creating jobs.
“Our focus is on creating jobs, making college and training programs more affordable and promoting good fiscal discipline,” Nixon said Tuesday during a stop in Franklin County. “When you do that it will attract jobs.”
Nixon, a Democrat, will face Republican David Spence in the November general election in his bid for a second, four-year term as governor.
During an interview at The Missourian office, Nixon said one of his chief attributes is being able to work with people to solve issues and problems.
“This is a complex state,” Nixon said. “Complicated problems take complicated solutions.”
The governor said he doesn’t isolate himself in the state Capitol but gets out and works with people, mentioning a recent meeting with a group of farmers in Bolivar to discuss what needed to be done to address the drought conditions.
“I’ve been able to get folks to work together,” he said.
Working with the Soil and Water Conservation Commission, Nixon signed an executive order in June to provide emergency funds for farmers or livestock producers facing critical shortages of water. An $18.7 million allocation will be used to dig wells or deepen existing wells or connect farms to rural water supplies.
Nixon said Tuesday that 4,414 farmers had applied for the 90-10 matching funds.
“The No. 1 issue is getting people working. It’s not a snap your fingers thing. In order to get there we need affordable education and worker training,” Nixon said.
On the issue of economic development in Missouri, Nixon said he and his staff have “worked very hard from day one.” A major achievement, he said, was passage of the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act two years ago.
During his first term, Missouri went from 49th to No. 6 in the nation in its entrepreneurship rating, Nixon said.
“We faced unprecedented natural disasters including tornadoes, blizzards, floods and storms,” the governor noted. “And during all that we kept things moving forward.”
Nixon said he’s proud of the expansion of the A+ scholarship program and the lowest increase in college tuitions in years.
“We trimmed the budget by $1.8 billion, cut the number of state employees and still maintained our AAA bond rating,” Nixon commented.
“I’ve had to cut budgets like no one before. I’ve found that Missourians are very understanding. They don’t punish you for balancing the budget. They’ve been very understanding of the fiscal choices I’ve made,” he said.
Asked if a likely Mitt Romney victory in Missouri in the general election will hurt him, Nixon said he believes the voters understand that he is independent.
“I’ve been at this awhile. I’ve forged a legitimate position as a centrist in my beliefs and values,” the governor said. “I’m not an overwhelming fan of Obamacare. We will work to move forward with other branches of government to get the right fit for Missouri.”
Nixon also said he’s proud of the state’s export record since he’s been governor. “People are beginning to understand that we now live in a world economy.”
The governor said he’s also proud of that since getting the first jobs bill passed, the state’s jobless rate has remained under the national average.
As governor, Nixon said he’s learned to reach out and call on people for help when needed.
“It’s incredible what they’ll do for you,” he said.