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Auditor Galloway of Columbia planning to run for governor

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway is planning to run for governor next year, the executive director of the Missouri Democratic Party told the Post-Dispatch.

“She’s very serious about the race and is taking steps to assemble a team and the resources it would take to win,” said Lauren Gepford, executive director of the state Democrats, adding that she did not know when Galloway would make a formal announcement.

Galloway, a Democrat from Columbia, won a four-year term as auditor in November after being appointed to the post in 2015 by then-Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat. She narrowly defeated Republican Saundra McDowell last year, winning 50.4% of the vote.

Galloway’s pending entrance into the race presents a dilemma for state Sen. Scott Sifton, D-south St. Louis County, who said earlier this year he intended to run for governor. He declined to comment for this article.

If both did run, the two would face off in an August 2020 primary, which Democratic insiders would like to avoid.

Sifton reported having $313,000 in his campaign coffers as of April 1. Galloway had $65,798 in her account after raising $114,194 in the first quarter.

Galloway, 37, would be the first woman elected governor in Missouri if she were to win in November 2020. She would have to defeat Gov. Mike Parson, 63, to win the office.

Parson, a Republican, has more than $3 million in campaign funds spread across two separate accounts. Parson ascended to the state’s top job one year ago after then-Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, resigned after months of scandal.

Before Greitens’ election in 2016, Democrats controlled most statewide offices in Jefferson City.

But as of this year, Galloway was the only Democrat left holding statewide office in Missouri.

In the last several months, she has made moves to differentiate herself from Parson.

During her inaugural address in January, Galloway criticized the Parson administration’s Department of Revenue for secrecy concerning a tax withholding error that sent jitters through state government. During the speech, Parson was sitting feet from Galloway’s podium.

“The administration might have been trying to sweep this under the rug, but I will hold them accountable to you,” Galloway said in her address. “Missourians deserve transparency.”

In May, she needled Parson’s office for citing the First Amendment to close public records, and asked a Parson ally, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, to issue an opinion on the legality of such a citation. Schmitt has yet to issue one.

She also criticized a new anti-abortion law Parson signed last month, which bans the procedure at eight weeks of pregnancy.

“He wants a woman’s decisions over her health care to be criminalized,” Galloway said. “It’s extreme and cruel.”

Jean Evans, executive director of the Missouri Republican Party, said it was no surprise Galloway was preparing a run for governor.

“She’s been attacking the governor for a while, so we knew she was running,” Evans said. “It’s not news. I mean, it is. But it’s not to us.”

President Donald Trump won Missouri in 2016 by 19 percentage points. That said, Missouri Democrats running for U.S. Senate and governor that year lost by more narrow margins.

Still, Evans predicted Parson, who was elected lieutenant governor in 2016, would win a full four-year term as governor. She cited economic growth and the governor’s stable hand as reasons voters would give him another four years in office.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Nicole, Scott Sifton or anyone else. ... I think the governor matches what people want in Missouri,” she said.

Hot stuff: MU grad student blends functionality, fashion for volcanologists
 Kristina Esdale  / 

MU graduate student Abby Romine is redefining volcanic vogue by combining blocks of color and practicality in the design of her “lava suits.”

Four years ago at a volcano in Guatemala, MU geological sciences chair Alan Whittington struggled with the unbearable heat of heavy clothing near molten rock.

“I wore Abby’s clothes for the first time at a quarry in Colorado,” Whittington said. “The first thing we all noticed was how comfortable and lightweight they were.”

PHOTO Courtesy of the MU News Bureau


A team of graduate students in the MU Department of Geological Sciences field-test the lava suits created by Abby Romine, a graduate student in Textile and Apparel Management, during a recent research trip to Colorado.

Romine came up with a design that was flame-retardant, abrasion-resistant and padded in all the right places. Detailed with strategically placed pockets and a color-block pattern, the final product accomplished her mission of creating tactical gear with a trendy flare.

“I wanted to make it look like fashion but also be functional,” she said.

After serving in the Army as an intelligence analyst for four years, Romine studied interior design at MU and graduated with her bachelor’s degree in 2011. During her last semester of school, she took a costume construction class that uncovered her passion for sewing. It confirmed something she’d known all along.

Armond Feffer / 

Armond Feffer/Missourian


Abby Romine explains her suit design to visitors Mary Frances Hodson, left, and Kerri Packard, right, on Tuesday in Gwynn Hall at the University of Missouri. Romine did all of the sewing by hand required for the four suit designs she created.

“I would sit there on guard duty designing clothing,” Romine said. “It was always there — I just took the longest route possible to lead me back to what I love to do.”

In preparation for her thesis project, Romine was teamed up with Whittington in fall 2017 to design what she called a “functional, expressive and aesthetically pleasing” design for him and his team of graduate students. During their free time, Whittington and his students travel around the world and study volcanoes.

“I mean, fundamentally, I just really enjoy playing with lava,” Whittington said. “But at the end of a few weeks out in the field, my pants will have extensive damage and need to be repaired. They also can be pretty heavy.”

After the volcanologists answered a thorough questionnaire about their ideal field suit, Romine got to work on picking the right materials and forming the perfect design for her project.

With the help of MU alumna Kathryn Knight, Romine was able to attain the fabrics needed to make her designs protective for volcanologists in the field. Knight is an apparel director at FirstSpear, a company that designs premium tactical gear for professionals, such as the military and law enforcement.

“Actually working with an industry company and getting actual fabric versus just stuff that we could go and buy on the internet is so unique,” said Kristen Morris, an assistant professor in textile and apparel management at MU and Romine’s thesis adviser. “It’s got a whole bunch of technical properties, and we can’t just buy that. So to have access to that was kind of a really cool thing.”

Armond Feffer/Missourian


A model displays one of Abby Romine’s male suit designs for viewers to examine during the exhibit Tuesday in Gwynn Hall at MU. Romine tested her designs in a design competition last October in China. She won the Golden Shell Award for User-Centered Design at the competition.

Besides being a success in the volcanic field, Romine was given the opportunity to participate in an international fashion show: the World University Student Fashion Design Competition in Qingdao City, China, hosted by the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology in October 2018.

While on a summer New York City study tour with the Department of Textile and Apparel Management, Romine said she was “just lucky” in being given the opportunity to showcase her pieces abroad in the coming fall season.

“I started sketching in July and was pattern-making in August,” she said. “I did everything in eight weeks. It was, like, 10 apparel pieces.”

Even on a time crunch, Romine still managed to leave China with the Golden Shell Award.

“What ended up getting me the prize was that it was user-centered design,” she said. “All of the designs were based off of what users were telling me that they needed for garments.”

As she approaches the end of her journey as a graduate student, Romine hopes for a future that includes designing clothing for an outdoor apparel company. Already, her influence might mean a change in what volcanologists wear. Although volcanology is a small community, Romine’s designs are starting to be known.

“My students and I posted our story on our socials, and a lot of people have already expressed interest it the apparel,” Whittington said. “But right now, there’s only a few of these things in existence.”

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.