Nixon likely to continue education policies in second term
This is the first time a Missouri governor has been re-elected since 1996.
Nov. 07, 2012
Gov. Jay Nixon, D-Mo., was re-elected as Missouri’s governor over Republican candidate Dave Spence Tuesday.
It is the first time a Missouri governor has been re-elected since Mel Carnahan was re-elected in 1996.
Nixon’s re-election introduces more continuity in the office and will not bring about any significant policy changes, MU political science professor William Horner said.
“He has been a moderate to conservative governor so far, and so I don’t think you’re going to see much change in that,” Horner said. “Now I suppose the legislature would disagree with that assessment, but he really has been a pretty moderate governor.”
Mizzou College Democrats Treasurer Bo Mahr said Nixon’s re-election would be beneficial for students. He said Nixon has benefited students by preventing tuition increases, allowing more transfer credits and increasing A+ Scholarship Programs.
“I think (Nixon’s re-election) will send a pretty clear message of what he has done the past several years,” Mahr said. “And that is he has been on the side of students, really. When the recession hit, he froze our tuition. He has done a lot for students in the realm of providing more transfer credits so that a junior college will then transfer into a university, which makes education a lot more accessible for those who don’t have as much money.”
Horner also addressed the governor’s actions to prevent tuition increases.
“In terms of impact on the university, he has taken a pretty aggressive stand against the university at times,” Horner said. “I don’t know if we will continue to see that, but he has been pretty hard-line about tuition increases and that sort of thing. That’s good from the student perspective, I suppose.”
State Sen. Kurt Schaefer, R-District 19, who was also re-elected Tuesday, said he will continue as appropriations chairman and will work closely with the governor. He previously fought against Nixon’s proposed $106 million cut in education funding.
“The governor proposed a $106 million cut at the beginning of the budget in 2013,” Schaefer said. “We were able, in the legislature, to come up with money to avoid the cut and ultimately the governor agreed with us.”
The gubernatorial election is the most important election for MU students, said State Rep. Caleb Jones, R.-District 117. It is important to have a governor who supports higher education and an educated workforce for potential employers that move to the state, but he said Nixon has cut more than $23 million from the school since he has been in office.
Homer Page, chairman of the Boone Country Democrats Central Committee, said he thinks Nixon has done well to support higher education.
“I think that Gov. Nixon has done a great job of supporting higher education, especially at the University of Missouri,” Page said. “I think this case will bring a balanced approach to funding education across the state.”
The economy was another key point in the campaign between Nixon and Spence.
“I think it is interesting that Dave Spence centered a lot of his campaign around the economy and jobs,” Mizzou College Democrats chairman Tyler Hays said. “But, if you just look at the numbers of Missouri and what we have done recently with Gov. Nixon at the helm, Nixon has basically turned the state around in a very big way.”
Page also said he thinks Nixon will improve Missouri’s economy. He said Nixon will encourage job growth and will be able to utilize his veto power to force the Republican legislature to work with him on the economical issues most important to Missourians.
“He will continue to push the budget and be fiscally sound,” Page said. “He will create a climate (that) businesses will want to come to and jobs will be created. We will continue to move forward as a state as we have in the last few years. That’s what I see from Gov. Nixon in his second term.”
Governors are, in a lot of ways, captive to what the national economy is doing, Horner said.
“I think when governors or gubernatorial candidates make claims about generating jobs, they’re overstating reality a great deal,” Horner said.