The biggest win for Gov. Eric Greitens this week may not have happened in his office at all, but rather at the Senate Republican caucus Wednesday where he spoke for an hour to mend fences and/or build bridges between himself and the majority party in the upper chamber.
Most legislators felt the meeting went well and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard must have felt the same way because he and the rest of Senate leadership went forward on confirming some of Greitens’ gubernatorial appointees – an action they had been holding off for weeks.
“The Senate decided they needed to press ahead on many of these department heads and curators wanted them to get to their job, and we’ll still have an ongoing dialogue between the governor’s office and our office,” Richard said at Thursday’s Senate press conference.
The Senate delayed the appointees allegedly because of concerns over the governor’s unilateral action to institute a paid family leave plan in some parts of the executive branch. Richard said he would remain “ever watchful of intrusion of the legislative branch” as he has throughout his career.
For Greitens, it’s another case of smoothing out wrinkles he may have inadvertantly caused due to still being fairly new to the political arena. Some senators reported the governor had attempted to intimidate them into voting for a resolution to dismiss pay raises for legislators late in January.
The other big news for the governor this week was his announcement to build infrastructure for rural broadband access. Rural broadband has been highly desired by outstate Missourians and agriculture groups, meant to even the playing field for rural students and businesses against their urban and suburban counterparts while also helping farmers better connect their equipment to the internet.
The project will cost approximately $45 million, with $6 million of that coming from this year’s budget.
Greitens, a native St. Louisian, also attended the St. Louis’ Cardinals home opener Sunday night, and Thursday he attended a commemoration for the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into World War I in Kansas City.