JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – After Gov. Jay Nixon held his Christmas tree decorating ceremony Tuesday morning, he took some time to speak out about the progress of the new stadium in St. Louis, ethics reform legislation filed last week and the recent comments by presidential candidate Donald Trump.
Nixon said he and his task force headed by Dave Peacock are focused on finishing their final plan for the National Car Rental Field to the National Football League by the Dec. 30 deadline. He believes St. Louis and the state are in good standing compared to the other two cities vying to keep their NFL teams.
“I think we’re at a much better shape than the other competing markets, the towns of Oakland and San Diego,” Nixon said. “Our efforts right now is to make sure that we’re consistent with the six principles I laid out over a year ago. That it’s cost-effective, that it’s going to turn around the neighborhood, that it’s going to create thousands of jobs… I feel good about the progress that we’ve made within those principles.”
Some in the legislature however have been less than pleased with Nixon’s efforts to keep the team in St. Louis. Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, and Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, have both led the charge against what they see as increased taxation on Missourians by expanding the bonds on the current Rams’ stadium, the Edward Jones Dome.
Nixon said the expedited process due to a short NFL time frame for submitting the final proposal has led to some of the discord between the legislature and himself. He added that he looked forward to working with the legislature.
“Like I said, I believe this is a very cost-effective proposal we’re making,” he said. “We’re not raising taxes, were using existing income streams we’re creating thousands of jobs we’re taking a neighborhood that otherwise would not be fixed up.”
Nixon then spoke about the ethics reform legislation pre-filed last week. Rep. Caleb Rowden, R-Columbia, submitted quite a few that were endorsed by Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff. Rep. Tracy McCreery, D-St. Louis, Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles, and Sen. Scott Sifton, D-St. Louis, also submitted ethics legislation.
“So far there have been a number of measures filed that make some progress, but let’s not kid ourselves, they are not significantly dramatic,” Nixon said, adding that he wanted to wait to read all of the submitted bills before making final judgments on what he would support. “Clearly some steps forward are important. I do think dealing with the revolving door is important, I do think dealing with gifts to everyone is important, and I think there are bills that come around those areas, perhaps not as strong as I’d like.”
Lastly, the governor responded to questions about businessman Donald Trump’s latest comments, in which Trump calls to ban all Muslims from entering the United States. Last month after the Paris attacks, Nixon was one of few Midwestern governors not to say they would not accept Syrian refugees into their state.
“I’ve never been one to join into short-term political demagoguery and that’s what’s going on,” Nixon said. “When people point out one religion and say we’re not going to have that person or those kind of people in our country, that’s not what America is. We’re a diverse country, we’re a diverse state. That’s how this country was formed and how it’s going to grow.
“I believe in public safety, and we will continue to work to make sure we have information that anyone that comes in has potentially a problem is vetted or if we have anything where anyone that acts out or that there’s a problem, but wholesale taking a religion and saying that America is not going to let anyone that believes that faith come to our country, I mean, that’s deeply wrong.”