JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The week of October 21-27, 2017 for Governor Eric Greitens was dominated by his speculation for national office, his use of campaign funds to bring a potential school board member to Missouri, and an unanswered call for a special session to find a solution to fund elderly, disabled Missourians cut by Greitens’ veto of HCB 3.
Greitens arrived from his trade mission to the U.K. and Switzerland to be in Iowa on Saturday, October 21. He traveled to the Hawkeye State to campaign for Republican Governor Kim Reynolds. Reynolds assumed the governorship after Terry Branstad was appointed to become the U.S. Ambassador to China in May and is seeking election for a full term.
Reynolds faces a contested Republican primary as a couple of Iowa mayors have declared their intentions to run. The Democratic primary has seven announced candidates as well.
At the Harvest Festival, the first major public fundraiser for the incumbent Reynolds, Greitens spoke about patriotism and the importance of conservative values. He also mentioned this opposition to the NFL players protests of kneeling during the national anthem.
“We have an obligation to see that (service members’) values of service and sacrifice, to see that their values of honor and courage and patriotism live on,” Greitens told the Des Moines Register. “And that is why it is so important to have not just elected officials but also cultural leaders who, like Kim Reynolds, are willing to stand up for military families and patriotic values.”
Later that day, Reynolds told the Kansas City Star that she told Greitens “you don’t know the speculation [for a future presidential bid] will fly.” Karen Fesler, an advisor for Rick Santorum’s presidential bids, escorted Greitens during the event and spoke of him, telling a reporter for Radio Iowa, “He’s in Iowa for Saturday night. 2024 may not be as far away as we think.”
On Monday, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch found that Greitens used more than $1,500 worth of campaign contributions to court a potential replacement for head of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Margie Vandeven. The newspaper found that he had reimbursed Atlanta native Kenneth Zeff for travel expenses, which is legal, but is morally dubious as it “is another example of the close coordination between Greitens the governor and Greitens the candidate.”
Later that Monday, legislators asked the Governor to call a special session on a potential budgetary fix for the in-home care of about 8,000 elderly, disabled Missourians. In April, he vetoed HCB3 which would have allowed for funds to be swept from other funds. Last week, he reportedly met with Sen. Mike Cunningham and was open to his proposals.
On Tuesday, he posted an image on Facebook of Winston Churchill with a quote against governmental regulations.
On Wednesday, he praised the decision of Swiss Re, an insurance firm to open an office in Kansas City and plans on hiring 400 people. He was said to have met with business leaders in Switzerland during his trade mission in Europe. The company previously employed 1,200 in Kansas.
“My job is to fight for jobs,” Greitens said. “I’m proud to say that our work is getting results. We’re taking the state in a new direction, with more jobs and higher pay.”
Earlier that morning, he ate breakfast with Taney County Sheriff Deputy Darin Carter and his family as well as other police officers.
That Wednesday, he met with Missouri veterans in Springfield who served in WWII, the Korean War, and the war in Vietnam. He posted on Facebook, praising volunteers from Honor Flight, which takes veterans on trips to cemeteries and memorials around the country.
He also met with firefighters in Kansas City.
On Thursday, he ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in McDonald County for deceased firefighter Garret Angel Paiz of the Noel Fire Department. Paiz was in California when he died. He helped the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection as a contracted firefighter.
On Friday, he appointed 30 women to leadership positions on state boards and commissions. He made a commitment last month to appoint at least 25 women in 25 days. First Lady Sheena Greitens praised the decision and said:
“Earlier this month in Kansas City, I announced the administration’s commitment to appoint at least 25 highly qualified women to the state’s boards and commissions. As of today, the Governor’s Office has appointed 30 women to new leadership roles, where they will join a majority-female cabinet in making a difference on important issues ranging from child abuse and foster care to homeland security and workforce development. We look forward to the contributions that each of these women will make to the State of Missouri.”
Michael Layer is a reporter for the Missouri Times and the Missouri Times Magazine. He joined the Missouri Times in August 2017 after graduating from Goucher College the previous May. To contact Michael, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @_MichaelLayer