Since his 2008 election, Gov. Jay Nixon has managed to do what few elected officials have done. In addition to responding to unprecedented emergencies in both southwest and southeast Missouri, Nixon has taken a common sense, bipartisan approach to leadership many thought impossible amid staunchly partisan politics.
The results of Nixon’s ability to relate to Missourians and find common ground in Jefferson City are undeniable. Last month, the Department of Economic Development announced state unemployment dropped to its lowest level in three years as 21,000 new Missouri jobs were created in February. This lowers the state rate to 7.5 percent — almost a full percentage point lower than the national unemployment rate.
Along with strengthening the Missouri workforce, Gov. Nixon’s leadership has infused our state with a rush of entrepreneurial activity. According to the Kauffman Foundation, the year Nixon took office, Missouri was ranked an embarrassing 49th out of 50 states in small business creation. After Nixon’s first year of leadership, our ranking jumped to 35. Last week, the foundation released its most recent findings, listing the Show-Me State sixth in the nation, finding that four of every 1,000 Missourians launched a new business last year. This dynamic turnaround can be attributed to the business-friendly environment created by Nixon’s plan for growth and recovery.
As a Missourian, I am proud of our governor’s commitment to cooperation and common-sense policies and wish that other states were as fortunate to have such leadership.
Sam Hill is a graduate student at MU.