Memories and recollections are part of the farewells to former Governor Hearnes at the Capitol and in his home town of Charleston. Two people who helped pass some of the laws that are the Hearnes legacy say accessibility and organization were a couple of reasons he succeeded.
Mary Gant Newquist was from Kansas City. Al Mueller was from St.Louis….Both remember Governor Hearnes for a kind of accessibility Governor’s since have not had.. For Mueller, it was as simple as a walk down the hall.
"You could walk down to Rep. Tommy Walsh’s office and Warren Hearnes would be in there at least once a week and sitting around talking to legislators," he says.
Newquist remembers being summoned to a meeting with Hearnes who wanted her vote on an income tax increase. She says those who voted for new or increased programs were expected to support steps to finance them.
Governor Nixon has eulogized Hearnes as "a beacon of hope" for the mentally ill. Both Mueller and Newquist agree improvements in the mental health system are his greatest legacy—but there were many, one of which is often overlooked: "He did establish the economic development and…it’s a very active committee…trying to secure new businesses for the state."
Newquist was still Mary Gant when she became the first woman elected to the state senate in 1972. Mueller also served in the Senate and later was a member of the Public Service Commission.
Leave a Reply