JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Governor Eric Greitens’ call for change to fix the issues with the St. Louis Veterans Home has now changed direction, as the Republican governor attacked a Democratic state senator who serves on the Missouri Veterans Commission.
The Governor’s attack comes after a recent article by Missourinet, in which Sen. Jill Schupp expressed concern that the Governor was “stacking another panel” in a fashion similar to his appointments with the State Board of Education.
“This is very much like what happened at the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education where the governor kept replacing members of that commission until he got a group willing to fire the person at the helm,” says Schupp. “This is a pattern of behavior we’re seeing with the governor, whether it’s with the veterans or education. These are pretty critical groups that I care deeply about. The idea that the governor is going to come in and make decisions based on what he wants an outcome to be is very concerning to me.”
The Democratic senator’s comments followed the Governor’s move on Monday, in which he replaced all five of the members appointed by the previous governor. The new members could decide within the coming days or weeks to fire Commissioner Larry Kay and Rolando Carter, the director of the St. Louis Veterans Home, but Schupp says she’s concerned that the new members will be rushing without adequate time to make a fair judgment.
“This is why people don’t trust liberal politicians. They defend big government, even when big government is indefensible. The independent investigation showed that government failed veterans. But Senator Schupp blames the veterans themselves for bureaucrats’ failures,” Governor Greitens’ statement reads.” It’s exactly this kind of nonsense that made so many veterans and their family members angry. They were right to be angry. I’m behind them, and that’s why the administrator of this home needs to be fired.”
Sen. Schupp responded Wednesday afternoon with the following statement:
“As a daughter of a Marine veteran, I have a deep love and appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. As a State Senator, I have an obligation and responsibility to ensure that our Veterans Homes are providing safe, quality care. I’m deeply disappointed that the Governor would use our veterans to try and score political points. They are heroes and they deserve better. We still haven’t seen the full report from the Governor’s office on the St. Louis Veterans Home; hopefully, we’ll start getting answers soon.”
Benjamin Peters is a reporter for the Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine, and also produces the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined the Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield. To contact Benjamin, email firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @BenjaminDPeters.