Former Gov. Holden talks policy in Columbia

He said Missouri is losing its touch with planet Earth.

Former Gov. Bob Holden speaks about public policy during a forum Monday at the Missouri School Board Association building. Holden gave analysis on the recent presidential election.

Former Missouri Gov. Bob Holden was in Columbia on Monday night to discuss this year's elections and the possible implications that it would have on the upcoming election years.

"We spend a great deal of time saying that we're the bellwether state," Holden said. "We've predicted the president every time but one. Missouri is losing its bellwether status. Why? We no longer represent the population of the United States."

Holden, a former Democratic governor who now holds a faculty position at Webster University, said Missouri is nationally ranked 39th for diversity.

In addition to discussing the possibilities why Missouri didn't elect Obama for president, Holden also talked about what the political parties can do to ensure good candidates and the importance of being part of a global community.

"We had some good candidates this year," Holden said. "I want to find good candidates for all parties. We should know all sides of an issue so that we can have a proper debate. The point of my policy discussions is to raise the level of discussion on the priorities of our society. Just a good, strong work ethic won't do it anymore. We have to be globally competitive."

The purpose of the public policy debate was to get people more vocal about local politics. Holden holds regular forums, called the Holden Public Policy Forum, at Webster, which has featured guests such as former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

"I organized this event because I wanted people to be involved," event organizer Patti Osgood said. "I've been very passionate about politics since 2004 when (Democratic presidential candidate John) Kerry lost and I thought, what can I do to get involved?"

Osgood has organized several political events this year and is planning others for January and February.

"Meeting candidates and getting involved is exciting, and everyone should try it," Osgood said. "I think it just makes you feel better about your community."

Congressional candidates who were present at the discussion agreed with Osgood.

"I believe that we need that level of discussion to build bridges between parties," said state Rep. Judy Baker, D-Columbia, who lost a bid for Missouri's Ninth Congressional District during the election.

MU students who came to the discussion were involved in politics.

Nate Kennedy, Young Democrats of Missouri College Federation chairman, said he enjoyed listening to the governor speak.

"It was very informative," Kennedy said. "It was a great discussion about things we have to learn from, even though we did good this year."

Holden ended the discussion on a positive note.

"Columbia has elected some of the best leaders in the state of Missouri," Holden said. "Our best days can be ahead of us if we take the time to talk about it. I'm hopeful, I'm hopeful."



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