Governor Jay Nixon (D) says watching the first transit van roll off of the Ford plant in northwest Missouri’s Claycomo is one of his greatest memories while serving as governor.

Governor Jay Nixon

“That plant was going to be closed at Claycomo. Instead, this is the largest and most productive Ford plant in the world,” Nixon tells Missourinet. “To ride in that vehicle as it came off after I had to call a special session and we had to get our pension system to get it paid for there and to know those workers were going to lose their jobs and now they’re hiring 700, 800, 900 more just right in that tranche. Almost 7,500 people are working there making good wages. Those moments kind of stick out, where historic things happen that I was really involved in.”

Nixon, a Democrat and union supporter, is serving his final days in office. Due to term limits, he will leave office next month.

Nixon says he has many other memorable moments, including one that gave closure to the community of Joplin after the 2011 tornado.

At one point, about 1,500 people were reported missing. Nixon says getting the unaccounted list down to zero closed one chapter and opened another. He says he wanted to give confidence that rebuilding efforts could start.

“While that’s kind of a sad moment in the sense, it was a completion point that marked the beginning of the next phase,” says Nixon.

An EF-5 twister ripped through the center of town, killing 161 people and destroying more than 500 business in less than 30 minutes.

Nixon says once he leaves office, he’ll take a vacation to an undisclosed location. After a little bit of rest and relaxation, he’ll begin working for Dowd Bennett law firm in the St. Louis area.

Republican governor-elect Eric Greitens will be sworn into office on January 9.