MO Gov. Greitens talks with Heartland News

Will New Madrid County, Missouri get the gift of a new steel mill for Christmas?  Area lawmakers say a decision could be announced by the end of the year.

Kathy Sweeney spoke one on one with Governor Eric Greitens, who says he's getting daily updates on the potential project.

"The good news is because of the work that we did, supported by the people of southeast Missouri who came up here and told legislators to do their job, said Greitens. When we canceled their vacations and brought them back up here and got this done. We are in a position to compete and bring this steel mill to southeast Missouri.  So, I'm very hopeful about the project."

While President  Trump hopes to sign the bill by Christmas, the new year will bring a new plan to lower and simplify taxes in Missouri. That's the word from Governor Eric Greitens when he spoke one on one with Kathy Thursday in Jefferson City.

"I think it's long overdue for us to lower taxes on the American people and really important for us to lower taxes on the people of Missouri," said Gov. Greitens. "And in fact, I'm happy to tell you today that in early January I'll be rolling out our plan to lower, simplify and make more fair taxes here in the state of Missouri for all of your viewers."

Will that plan be similar at all to what we are seeing on the national level?

"Well, our objective is to make sure that the people of Missouri are benefiting from our Missouri tax reform," Greitens said. "And really, the key principles you'll see as we roll out all the details are to lower taxes, make the system more fair and to keep it simple for people.  That's what they're looking for us to do.  And we are going to get that done for them in 2018."

Where do we stand in the fight against dangerous prescription pills?

"As we sit here today, Kathy, we have investigators from the Department of Health and Senior Services who are using the data from this prescription drug monitoring program to identify the people who are hurting kids and families across the state of Missouri so we can take strong action against them," said Gov. Greitens.

What is your stance on medical marijuana?

"Ah, for me, you know when I think about the future of the state of Missouri, I don't think there is any stoned path to prosperity," said Gov. Greitens. "We need to do the things here that are going to help us focus on bringing more jobs and higher pay, creating a thriving economy here.  Now of course, we always act with compassion.  There are kids, for example, who have epilepsy and there are proven treatments around cannabis oil for those kids who have epilepsy.  So we want to make sure that we are always compassionate and thoughtful, but I am not in favor of legalizing marijuana in the state of Missouri."

Governor, what should residents of Missouri look forward to in 2018?

"'Well, our mission remains the same," said Gov. Greitens. "And that is to keep fighting for the people of Missouri. And we are going to keep our promises and get results around more jobs, higher pay, safer streets and better schools. That's what we've done since we've been in office and that's what we're going to continue to do."

Governor Eric Greitens doesn't mince words when he looks back at 2017 and what could have been accomplished in Washington.

"I'd say probably my biggest disappointment has been DC,” he said.?

"But Congress?  Congress really needs to get the job done on healthcare, so we can lower costs and improve the quality of healthcare for the people of Missouri.  They need to get their job done on infrastructure.  They need to get the job done on lowering taxes for the people of Missouri. "

With the Republican party controlling the White House why couldn't get they get more done in 2017.

"I can tell you from up here, we get up every day and fight for the people of Missouri,” he said.  “We are not only getting legislation passed. We're changing government.  We're rolling back regulations. "And I think unfortunately you get some people who are in politics and they decide that they want to work for themselves, right?  We come every day to fight for the people of Missouri."

Greitens on national issues, like the NFL player protests during the national anthem.

"And you know what?  It does upset sometimes some of the big town newspapers when we talk about values like patriotism and standing up for the flag.  But we're going to do it anyway because it's the right thing to do."

Greitens' view echoed that of President Trump, who made two trips to Missouri this fall. There've been comparisons made between the two political newcomers. 

"And one of the comparisons that people brought to me is they said we appreciate that you're a conservative,” Greitens said.  “We appreciate that you're an outsider.  They said I appreciate that you're willing to take on the career politicians.  That you're willing to fight against the insiders.  And to fight against the lobbyists.  And to fight for us."

Despite the tax overhaul victory, President Trump has often put himself at odds with members of his own party. 

"Look.  I think it's really simple,” said Greitens.  “And I think that politicians always complicate this stuff.  Look, I'm a Navy Seal.  I'm a conservative.  I'm an outsider.  You come into office, you've got to get things done.  You've got to do what you said you were going to do.  You've got to keep your promises to people.  And if we do that, people will be successful."  

Greitens calls the GOP tax overhaul plan long overdue and says he'll roll out his own plan to lower and simplify Missouri taxes in early 2018.  


"Kathy, let's address people's fears directly," he said. "I am a big supporter of public schools."

Governor Eric Greitens is quick to point out he is a product of Missouri public schools.  He also points to the money directed toward those schools during his first year in office.

"And as many of your viewers know, we put 64 million more dollars into education, more money into K-12 education, than has ever been spent in Missouri history," said Greitens.  "Why?  Because I want every kid in the state of Missouri to have the same opportunity that I did."

"We've got a lot of administrators who are making over a quarter of a million dollars a year," Greitens. "And yet, our teachers, our starting teacher pay, 48th in the country.  I believe that we need to raise teacher pay.  We need to help our students succeed.  And work to improve our public schools."
Will the changes to that board specifically bring about some of those improvements?

"Absolutely.  Look, we've put people on the board who are going to put kids first.  And that's what we've needed to have, is a focus on what's working for kids.  And people are always asking--what are we going to do?  What are our policies?  We support policies that work for kids.  And I believe if we really want to support our kids, those dollars that your viewers are spending shouldn't be going to bureaucracy and administration."

Greitens appointed All five of the board members who voted to oust Vandeven.  He said he wants the moves to lead to big changes, including in student performance levels.

"But, the fact is, when you look at the state of Missouri, our schools have been headed in the wrong direction.  4th-grade reading.  We've dropped nine places relative to other states.  8th-grade math.  We've dropped ten places relative to other states.  And the problem in Missouri has been our money that your viewers are spending, it's not getting into the classroom.  It's been going to bureaucracy, into administration."

You also asked me to ask him about his take on Charter schools.  When I did, he went back to his push for less bureaucracy, better teacher pay, and a better use of the money already coming in.

"And those dollars need to get into the classroom where they can work for our students." 

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