The race for governor in Missouri between incumbent Democrat Jay Nixon and Republican Dave Spence has become spirited with each of the candidates loaded with not-completely-accurate ammunition for personal attacks and  mega dollars for advertising. Nixon has enjoyed a substantial lead, but Spence has closed the gap somewhat.

Nixon the last four years has had a steady hand on the government. Missouri’s fiscal house is in order and that perhaps is the strongest argument that he be retained. Other states have major financial problems. He and the General Assembly have maintained balanced budgets without raising taxes. The state’s AAA credit rating is intact.

While the employment rate isn’t where we would like to see it, Missouri’s jobless rate has been below the national average for 36 straight months. Missouri is ranked sixth in the nation in small business growth and our exports are up. Nixon has tried to create a good business climate and there have been successes — we’ve witnessed it in Washington and this area.

Nixon has tried to work with the General Assembly on major issues and there has been cooperation —  not 100 percent, but considering the nature of politics, the climate hasn’t been bad. Compared to what is going on in the nation’s Capitol, Missouri stands tall in cooperation and compromise in important issues. Missourians are fortunate to live in a state that has had a bipartisan spirit on some major issues.

The governor has responded to tragedies, such as the tornado in Joplin, in working with all emergency agencies that have been involved in an excellent manner. He has exhibited leadership in tending to the needs of the people and cooperating with local governments in solving problems caused by nature. Even Republicans have given him high marks for his leadership in disasters.

Nixon hasn’t been perfect by any means. For instance, his leadership is needed in the state’s transportation issues. He has been too conservative as to tax issues that have been floated to bring in more revenue for transportation. Nixon has been in a no-new-taxes mode. How else can our transportation needs be addressed unless there is new revenue? His position has been “let the people decide” on new taxes. That’s fine, but someone has to take the lead in presenting voters with a ballot issue to raise money for such needs as transportation.

The governor travels the state and his critics say it’s to generate favorable publicity. But the people, especially in rural areas, invite him and want him to attend special events. He’s been in Franklin County a number of times for special events, especially in industrial development affairs and to present agriculture awards. A governor should be visible.

The governor’s experience in state government is important. He understands how the wheels turn and, let’s face it, it’s been a relatively smooth ride with Nixon at the controls.

When people vote for a governor and other public officials, they put their trust in a candidate. Gov. Nixon has earned voter trust for another four years.