The Governor’s final State of the State Address might have set the tone for what could be another difficult session for his legislative agenda.
Nixon spent much it looking back on what he considers accomplishments, and that’s not unusual for an executive’s final such address according to University of Missouri Professor Peverill Squire.
He says Nixon wanted to remind people of where Missouri was eight years ago, and while some Republicans have been critical of that Squire said Nixon stayed on fairly solid ground.
“I think Republicans are not in a terribly good position right now to criticize a lot of the things that he talked about simply because on factual basis they’ve succeeded. The budget’s been balanced, education funding has gone up a little bit, tuition hasn’t increased much,” Squire told Missourinet. “Looking to the future it’s of course a little murkier for him. He has relatively little leverage to use on the legislature and the legislature will probably pursue its own agenda rather than really focus on the things that he would prefer they talk about.”
Squire says Nixon did a good job of reaching out to Republicans, even if they won’t agree on everything.
“He would like the legislature to push farther in ethics reform than it appears they’re likely to do. Campaign finance [reform] probably will not be part of any package they ultimately produce,” said Squire. “I think that there’s common ground that they want to pursue on increasing funding for transportation, and we’ll see whether they can get any of that through the House.”
Squire thinks Nixon reminded the legislature they can still accomplish more by working together in his final year.
That the address was Nixon’s last has rekindled talk about what might be next for him. He was once considered a possible vice presidential candidate, among other things. Squire says even Nixon might not know what is still out there for him after his term ends.
“Certainly he could go into the private sector and make considerably more money than he’s been able to earn over the last couple of years. If there’s a democratic administration in D.C. he could hope to have some cabinet-level position,” said Squire. “Probably not going to be put on a ticket as a vice presidential candidate, but if the Democrats are in charge there may be something that he will do in the next administration.”