David Steelman acknowledged he was surprised that Governor Jay Nixon tapped him to sit on the board that governs the state retirement system and said he would never turn down an opportunity to serve because of past politics.
"Oh yeah, I was surprised," Steelman said in an interview with The Notebook about his appointment to the MOSERS (Missouri State Employees Retirement System) board. "I think it's an important issue and position, and I have a very strong view, that there's a time for politics and a time for governing."
When asked about what politicos should make of old rivals like Nixon and Steelman teaming up, the former Republican nominee for Attorney General laughed it off. "That was twenty years ago," Steelman said of his highly contentious contest with Nixon in 1992. "Sure, it got a little personal. But I think it was very big of the Governor to do this. I figure Governor Nixon might get some heat from the Democrats on this too. But that's what this country's got to get past. You have elections, you have the fight, and then they are done. You govern. And I don't think anybody should turn down an opportunity to serve because of politics," Steelman said.
Steelman said he will head to Jefferson City in May for a fact-finding meeting about MOSERS with Travis Morrison, a West Plains businessman also appointed to the board by Nixon. Asked about how long he'll serve on the board, Steelman replied, "I wouldn't expect to be there long. The goal is to resolve these compensation and transparency issues." Steelman outlined one question he wants answered early on: "I don't understand why MOSERS isn't part of the Missouri transparency portal. There may be a good reason for it, but I don't understand why -- and I'm gonna ask about it."
Steelman heads back to work in the public arena just when speculation is swirling about if/when his wife will leap into the 2010 U.S. Senate race.
When asked about whether this appointment by a Democratic Governor would just fuel questions about The Steelman family's commitment to the Republican Party and conservative issues, Steelman replied: "One, I don't think that people who really know us will feel that way . . . Two, those people are going to find a reason to complain no matter what."