Sunday, September 13, 2009

Week 35: Nixon's Grade


In last week's grade, The Notebook noted the whispers among Democrats suggesting Gov. Jay Nixon needed a staff shake-up. A few days later, the Post-Dispatch's Tony Messenger caught that Nixon quietly removed Chief of Staff John Watson as the liaison to the Department of Natural Resources. Now, the state's most influential paper is reporting that Nixon is unsatisfied with the performance of his Economic Development director, Linda Martinez, and that she could step down from the position by this week. If Martinez leaves nine months in, what does this say about Nixon's judgment in selecting one his most important cabinet members? While there continue to be ripples behind the scenes in Nixonland, the Governor is attempting to recapture his bipartisan legislative swagger heading into the veto session. He touted a education agreement designed to foster healthcare jobs, appointed Republican Rep. Dennis Wood to the Stone County Commission, got tough on insurance companies and began to explore how Missouri's declining auto industry could rebound with a focus on "green jobs." He also heard about a threat from Republicans to override his veto on an economic accountability bill this week. It's probably just a threat (2/3rds is a steep climb) but some GOPers are beginning to smell blood in the water. During it all, Nixon also tellingly ignored the Tour of Missouri. The tea leaves indicate that race fans better enjoy this year, because it could likely be the last. The Governor has to focus on bigger picture items, like jobs and unemployment. Nixon will only have so much time before Missourians pin the sour economy on him. That's just another reason he needs to sort out any problems with Martinez sooner than later.

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