Six Missouri governors met Friday in Kansas City to share what they feel have been important economic drivers for Missouri during their time as heads of state. Democrats Jay Nixon, Roger Wilson and Bob Holden were joined with Republicans John Ashcroft, Kit Bond and Matt Blunt for the 30 minute panel discussion.
Governor Nixon touted Missouri’s trade mission successes, which include more than $10 billion dollars in exports so far this year. Nixon said export sales are on track to surpass 2014, the second best year on record for Missouri export sales.
Kit Bond said he’s proud of helping to create the Hawthorn Foundation, a private non-profit organization supporting business recruitment, retention and development.
“We had Kansas City fighting St. Louis, and St. Louis fighting Kansas City. Springfield and Columbia were at odds. The outstate area was fighting the cities. We needed a joint effort,” said Bond.
John Ashcroft said increasing Missouri’s gas from 7 cents to 17 cents a gallon to pay for roads and bridges was a good move by lawmakers during his time in office.
“I shudder to think where Missouri would be without that 10-cent-a-gallon increase,” he said. “We needed the roads. We need roads now.”
The Legislature couldn’t agree this year on how to increase transportation funding, though most lawmakers believe it must be increased.
Roger Wilson said boosting Missouri’s infrastructure was also an important focus for him.
Bob Holden thinks expanding Missouri’s diversity in a changing global economy is critical. He suggested recruiting more women and minorities to come to the state.
Matt Blunt said Missouri has many unique economic opportunities, and two stand out to him.
“We are the plant science and animal health science center of the world,” said Blunt. “That’s going to be an area of increasing of importance.”
Blunt also said public private partnerships have helped Missouri’s economic development.
Nixon said Friday’s gathering was the first time all six governors have appeared at an event together.