NIXON'S FIRST WEEK: A -
On Inaugural Day, he clearly set the tone, and was smart to hold that quick meeting with local businesses. (Message: I'm not just dancing, I'm working.) His first executive orders seem pretty non-controversial and centrist. More importantly, all were economic. His idea of loans for small businesses, while not the be-all-end-all, are getting good reviews. Speaker Richard likes his Economic Development appointee, so the G.O.P.'s attempts at criticizing her immigration views are less potent. Any time a politician sets up a "task force," to study anything we might be quick to roll our eyes. But Nixon has a look of energy in him. Like if the bad economy were a living, moving thing, he might just tackle it. Literally. And then kick it, with a snarl. Three media avails in one week keep the hungry media well-fed. And to cap off the week, he spread the love Southwest, with breakfast in ruby red Joplin and a stop in Springfield. Sending all the right signals, hammering the economy, looking reformist (with his license office overhaul), working with Republicans. Keeping the unemployment office open on a Saturday, a nice touch. (And yes, those political Republicans are keenly aware of Nixon's smooth moves.) Are we in paradise? Not completely. Somehow his team botched the reason and roll out of their cell phone ban. Reporters all across the state are still e-mailing, calling and texting each other about it. How bizarre. It cost 'em a perfect A, but that was the only hiccup, in a honeymoon week that Team Nixon has to be quite pleased with.
BELOW: VIDEO FROM THE SPRINGFIELD STOP
WATCH ABOVE: Nixon brushes back a question about whether he's changing the role of the Missouri Development Finance Board by doling out small business loans. "This is the purpose of the MDFB. The Missouri Development Finance Board is supposed to create economic jobs."
WATCH ABOVE: Despite some complaints from local businesses, Nixon defends Missouri's minimum wage hike. "If we're talking about jobs at the minimum wage level, we got challenges anyway. This economy's not going to grow at the minimum wage level. If we're trying to compete by saying, who has the most people making less than minimum wage, that's not the economy of the future.
OTHER NIXON NEWSPOINTS:
- Said his staffers stayed up most of the night analyzing what Congress' economic stimulus package means for Missouri; Stressed that they're looking for job training funds within the bill.
- SOUNDBITE: "It's just exciting to walk into a community college and see a guy laid off as an auto worker, not sitting at home collecting a check, but instead back in school to become a lineman," said Nixon on the need for job-training dollars. Added that job-training demand is five times greater than the money available.
- POUNDING THE MESSAGE: Nixon said dozens of state workers are volunteering Saturday to help process unemployment claims. "We're going to show them that 5 o'clock Friday is not the end of the work week when it comes to making sure we help people that lost their jobs."
- Notes he's been with his Economic Development Director-designee Linda Martinez every day, more than any other Cabinet member.
- IN ONE SENTENCE: "The message that I send, is this is what we're worried about each and every day."