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Column: J.D. McGaugh “August in Missouri”

August is a special time for Rural Missouri and the people involved in our state’s agricultural sector. By this time on the calendar our farm fields are beginning to show their prosperity and signs of the bountiful harvest that comes with the fall. The State Fair is under way showcasing all that Agri-Missouri has to offer, county fairs are coming to a close and talk of the local high school football teams dominate the discussion of local coffee shops and grain elevators.

The change in topic has been rather refreshing. For the last month—a subject matter in most klatches around my area focused more or less on Governor Nixon’s de facto support of cattle rustlers, animal abusers, foreign landowners, UN environmental programs and possible federal acts that could infringe on a Missouri citizen’s rights under the 2nd Amendment.

Rep. Joe Don McGaugh
Rep. Joe Don McGaugh

Let’s just say the veto pen got folks talking. The governor’s tarmac jumping probably helped too.

By no means were discussions limited to the vetoes of SB 9, SB 265 or HB 436—there is no doubt that these were all important pieces of legislation specifically to Rural Missourians. Plenty was also said about the red ink on HB 278, HB 339 and finally HB 253.  What can I say, here in out-state Missouri we like celebrating Christmas, not rewarding those who are in violation of the laws of our state and keeping more of our hard earned livelihood. I have also spent a fair amount of time trying to explain the Governor’s actions “allowing” legislation to go into effect pursuant to Article 3, Section 31 of the Missouri Constitution—especially on a topic that is important as protecting innocent life.

One particular old codger who I can only describe as apolitical at best; a farmer and Korean War vet with a “Vote Em All Out” bumper sticker on his farm truck, summed up his opinion to me this summer: “Jay Nixon can either be for us or for the city folk. He has shown he can’t do both.”

I speak for my rural colleagues in the Missouri House when I say that by and large we don’t buy into the rural versus urban dichotomy that is sometimes fought in Jefferson City. We don’t fight with an “us versus them” mentality that the media continues to bolster. No matter what happens during the upcoming veto session it is my hope that we can come back next January and have renewed cooperation and bipartisanship to benefit all areas and all citizens of the State of Missouri. More importantly it is my hope that the Governor’s office will ramp up their collaboration with the legislature next session to make these things happen.

If we can accomplish these goals I hope the Governor can spend next summer signing some legislation into law in Rural Missouri and not grandstanding in the more urban areas. Next November the Right-to-Farm issue will be on ballots all across our State. Will Governor Nixon’s future dealings show his support or opposition? Only time will tell—but his support could just be the olive branch we need here in rural Missouri.