Democratic state auditor Nicole Galloway — Missouri’s only state-wide elected democrat — is running for governor.
That’s according to paperwork filed with the Missouri Ethics Commission Friday.
She’ll presumably be squared up against incumbent Gov. Mike Parson, who took over the office from Gov. Eric Greitens after being elected Lt. Gov. in 2016. The election is due in November 2020.
Galloway was appointed to the auditor position by then-Gov. Jay Nixon in 2015 then won office in her own right in 2018. She won with just over 50 percent of the vote, beating Republican attorney Sandra McDowell by more than five points.
In Pike County, Galloway ran ahead of Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill but behind some local democrats, earning 2,380 votes compared to 3,326 for McDowell.
In the opening shot from her campaign — in a video posted online Monday — Galloway emphasized the role her office played in combating mis-use of public funds and her support of the “Clean Missouri” package of ethics proposals.
“Dark money flows from corporations and lobbyists. The governor takes their money and then does their bidding. Nothing gets done for you. So it's no wonder your healthcare costs are still through the roof, your wages are still lagging, parents are still worried about their kids being able to make a good life close to home,” Galloway said in the video.
Governor returns from Australia trip
Gov. Mike Parson returned last week from his second international trade mission, which went to Melbourne and Sidney in Australia.
A press release from Parson’s office said he discussed an infrastructure program with the governor of the Australian state of Victoria and met with business leaders to discuss investment in Missouri.
“It was a privilege to again represent our state abroad and discuss building upon Missouri’s working relationships with Australian businesses, discover areas we can improve existing programs and infrastructure, and develop new courses of action to better serve Missourians,” Parson said in a prepared statement. “The Trade Mission provided another great opportunity to promote our strong economy, thriving industries, and all Missouri has to offer businesses looking to grow and expand internationally.”
The trip was funded by the Hawthorn Foundation, a Jefferson City-based non-profit funded by contracts with the state for economic development work and donations from businesses in the state.
Parson: $50 million available for cost-sharing on roads, bridges
Applications are now available for $50 million in state money designed to boost local construction of roads and bridges.
The program will pay for up to half of the cost of construction — the other half will need to be covered by local governments or private businesses.
The bill was passed in this year’s legislative session as part of Parson’s infrastructure bill.
“This program offers an exciting opportunity for Missouri to advance both transportation and economic development. We commend our legislators for supporting this economic development tool that will turn infrastructure investments into Missouri workforce investments,” Parson said in a prepared statement.
Auditor will start accepting applications for redistricting official
Galloway’s office will begin accepting applications in September for a key position in the new redistricting process approved by voters in 2018.
The state demographer will be responsible for drawing maps for state elections. The position was created by Amendment 1, a package that included reforms of the redistricting process, campaign finance and lobbyist gifts.
The demographer will be picked from among the applications by the State Senate’s majority leader Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, and minority leader Gina Walsh, D-Bellefontaine Neighbors. The maps, which are meant to be drawn to establish “partisan fairness” and “competitiveness” will be submitted to bi-partisan commissions for approval. The first redistricting process under the new method — if attempts by some republican legislators in Jefferson City to ask voters to reconsider the reform fail — will follow the 2020 federal census.
Auditor, Attorney General clash over legal opinion
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has fallen silent on whether it was appropriate for Parson to redact the names of people lobbying or doing business with state government when responding to public information requests, Galloway said last week.
In May, Galloway requested the attorney general issue a formal legal opinion on whether Parson’s First Amendment justification for the redactions — Parson said revealing the names might stop people from engaging with government officials — was valid. In a response to that request, Schmitt’s office said it would be in touch within 90 days.
That time frame passed last week.
“The attorney general is charged with enforcing the Sunshine Law. I would expect that he would give an opinion as to whether it is appropriate to redact the information of those attempting to conduct business with or lobby a government entity. Missourians deserve to know who is influencing their government,” Galloway said in a prepared statement.
A spokesperson for Schmitt told the Kansas City Star that the office is processing requests in the order in which they are received and tries to release opinions “in a timely fashion.”
Galloway is Missouri’s only state-wide elected democrat. Parson and Schmitt are both republicans.
Rep. Graves, Sen. Hawley, Blunt write to FEMA on flood assistance
Northern Missouri’s congressional delegation sent a letter early this month to Federal Emergency Management Agency Acting Administrator Peter Gaynor asking for a more clear statement of FEMA’s policies regarding individual assistance for people reckoning with this year’s flood season.
“We are writing in regards to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s response to the massive flooding that has affected Missourians since earlier this year,” the letter reads. “We are grateful for all FEMA has done to provide public and individual assistance to affected communities. At the same time, many of our constituents are frustrated by FEMA’s confusing and poorly-communicated process for providing individual assistance to those in need.”
News and Views is an occasional run-down of news from Pike County's state and local officials compiled by the staff of the Louisiana Press-Journal and the Bowling Green Times.