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This Week in the Governor’s Office: Week of October 16, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – This Week in the Governor’s office has been dominated by Governor Eric Greitens’ trip to the U.K. and Switzerland. While in Europe, he has made several judicial appointments as well as meeting with senate and house leaders about restoring cuts that would take $35 million from elderly and disabled Missourians.

On Monday, he officially left for the U.K. and Switzerland less than two weeks after returning from a trade mission to East Asia. He was expected to meet with European business leaders to increase Missouri’s business interests abroad. The trip was financed by the Hawthorn Foundation, whose trade missions have facilitated deals worth over $5 billion dollars since 2013. He is expected to return October 21. “Our goal is to win more jobs for Missouri families and sell more Missouri products around the world,” Greitens said.

Later that day, he tweeted his pride of a lawsuit that will be heard before the Missouri Supreme Court. Last Tuesday, he and attorney general Josh Hawley lost a case in the Western District Court of Appeals about the constitutionality of abortion requirements for the mother to hear her fetus’ heartbeat and read a booklet before her abortion. In the case, a woman identified as Mary Doe alleges that such stipulations violate her freedom of religion as she is a member of the Satanic Temple, which does not believe that human life begins at conception.

On Monday, he appointed Matt Hammer to the Circuit Judge for the 26th Circuit. Hammer will replace Stanley Moore, who retired in September. Hammer previously served as the Associate Circuit Court Judge for Camden County.

“I am proud to appoint Judge Matt Hamner to the circuit bench for the 26th Judicial Circuit,” Greitens said. “Judge Hamner is a proven leader both on and off the bench, and his experience and devotion in the courtroom and the community make him uniquely qualified to serve as circuit judge.”

On Wednesday, Greitens posted a long-form message on Facebook addressed to his two sons about Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. The book has many hushed aspects of American history, especially about the social conditions for black people during the Jim Crow era. It also has obscene words that were commonplace, especially then, and story elements that complicate aspects of modern feminist movements.

Greitens took a different approach, believing that the discomfort that the book can bring modern American readers is intentional. He believed the attempts to ban the book were a part of a politically correct culture run-amok.

On Wednesday, Greitens appointed Amy Dent to become Auditor of Christian County. She previously served as the deputy auditor of the county and served as a legal assistant at the Christian County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.

Wednesday was also Missouri day.

Greitens met with Sen. Mike Cunningham on Wednesday about a potential fix to over 8,000 elderly, disabled Missourians. Cunningham was tasked with creating a resolution to the cuts in the veto session in September and proposed that people who make over $22,000 would no longer qualify the circuit breaker tax credit. Cunningham told the Post-Dispatch that the Governor was receptive to his proposal.

On Thursday, Greitens appointed Jalilah Otto to the Circuit Court as the judge for the 16th Judicial Circuit. Otto will replace Robert Schieber, who retired. Otto previously served as an Associate Judge since 2014 and presided over 250 bench trials. Previously, she was appointed by the Missouri Supreme Court to the Commission on Racial and Ethnic Fairness, the Joint Commission on Women in the Profession, and the Joint Task Force on the Future of the Profession.

“Judge Otto has demonstrated a commitment to justice and the rule of law throughout her career in public service,” Greitens said. “I am confident she will continue that commitment in her new role as circuit judge.”

On Thursday, he praised the global market agency VML for their plans to expand their operations to include 120 new jobs in Kansas City over the next six years. VML has recently been expanding and has increased their workforce by 50 since this January. The company is a marketing company that represents Bridgestone, Colgate-Palmolive, Electrolux/Frigidaire, Ford, the Kellogg Company, Kimberly-Clark, New Balance, PepsiCo, Sprint, and Wendy’s.

“We are proud to have VML headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri as companies continue to thrive in our state,” Greitens said. “We’re always fighting to help companies like VML create more jobs and higher pay for Missourians.”

Former Rep. Joe Don McGaugh was appointed to the Associate Circuit as a judge for Carroll County. He will replace Kevin Walden, who was previously appointed to the Circuit Court. McGaugh was the Chair of the Judiciary Committee and passed numerous tort reform bills like SB 88, SB 43, and SB 31. He was also named one of the Missouri Times Magazine’s 2017 Best of the Legislature.

“Representative Joe Don McGaugh has distinguished himself as a dedicated public servant for the people of Carroll County,” Greitens said. “I am excited to appoint him to the bench.”

Later that day, he issued a message to Amazon asking them to locate their second headquarters in Missouri. In his proposal, he touted the proposed Hyperloop, which could transport people across the state in less than 30 minutes. He also released his complete proposal to the public.

“We want to challenge you, Amazon, to think differently, more expansively in both time and space, more boldly in terms of impact, to Bezos,” Greitens said. “While each proposal stands on its own, I also encourage you to envision what Amazon could achieve by partnering with us to unleash the combined strength of the entire State of Missouri.”

On Friday, he announced his plans to allow children in Missouri foster cares to be able to retrieve their birth certificates at no cost. He also posted on Facebook another long form message advocating for the moral rights of Missourians in foster care.