COLUMBIA — Gov. Jay Nixon's inauguration speech laid out some ambitious goals for the state but was light on specifics. Below, we've taken excerpts of his speech and posed questions to you: What would you recommend the new governor do to reach these goals? Sound off with a comment below, or e-mail a letter to the editor to editor@ColumbiaMissourian.com.
"Here in Missouri, we will not only compete. We will lead. This new economy requires a new day for Missouri. We'll turn this economy around by making Missouri a magnet for next-generation jobs."
Q. What types of jobs should Nixon be looking to lure to the state? What can he and the General Assembly do to entice employers to bring those jobs to Missouri?
"And not only will we lead with our ideas, we'll also lead with our greatest asset: our people. We must prepare our world-class workers with 21st century skills and connect them with the jobs of tomorrow that we will create. The jobs that will lead our nation to energy independence. The jobs that will build fuel-efficient automobiles and energy-efficient homes."
Q. Of all the ideas out there for energy independence — biofuels, ethanol, electric, wind, etc. — which makes the most sense for Missouri and its work force?
"The jobs that will develop the lifesaving cures of tomorrow."
Q. Given the differing opinions about embryonic stem-cell research, what safeguards should the governor enact (if any) to preserve life while still leading the way in developing life-saving cures?
"To bring about a new day in Missouri, we'll need to implement new policies. But this new day will not be possible unless there is a new tone in Jefferson City. Because for too many years, politics and partisanship have stood in the way of progress. And the people of Missouri are tired of it."
Q: How can Democrats and Republicans better work together to end partisan bickering?
"It's a new day for the small-business owner who knows that with a little help, her hard work will pay off, and brighter days are ahead."
Q: What can the governor do to provide support for small businesses in Missouri?
"It's a new day for the family that recently sat around the kitchen table to decide if they should take out a second mortgage so that they can send their second child to college."
Q: What can the governor do to provide more support for college-bound students in Missouri?