JEFFERSON CITY • Gov. Jay Nixon’s advice for his soon-to-be successor? Get up to “decision speed” as quickly as possible, and learn to go with your gut.
“It’s a busy job and you’ll need to make a decision, and if you’ve got all the information in front of you to make that decision, go ahead and make it, because the next hour will bring another problem,” Nixon said. “The farther you get up in government, sometimes you don’t have as much information as you like, but you need to make decisions anyway.”
Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL who ran as a political outsider, will soon take the helm of a $27 billion enterprise that oversees everything from 32,000 prison inmates to thousands of miles of roads.
He sat beside his predecessor at the governor’s annual prayer breakfast on Thursday, where, alongside other lawmakers, they shared a meal and prayers.
Greitens has thanked his predecessor for his guidance as he prepares to assume office on Jan. 9.
Echoing similar calls for civility from legislative leaders yesterday, Randy Garris, a Christian minister who hosted the memorial service after the devastating Joplin tornado, served as the keynote speaker for the breakfast He preached about standing by one’s convictions while still working to get along with those who have different beliefs.
It’s been a common message this week from lawmakers readying themselves for a new administration, inevitable disagreements to come in the session, and a GOP-led agenda that’s emerged after a contentious election cycle.
Speaking to reporters after the event, Nixon said he wanted to go out reflecting the good of the state through a peaceful transition of power.
“We were reaching out from day one and I think that paid off,” Nixon told reporters after the event.
He also stressed continued fiscal conservatism and said he hoped Greitens would keep the budget balanced.
One of his early acts as a new governor will likely involve cuts to the state budget beyond the $200 million Nixon has already slashed.
Greitens’ transition team has acknowledged that revenue forecasts indicate those reductions won’t be enough to balance the budget, but offered few details as to what further cuts may come down the line.
The new governor's State of the State speech will buck tradition by not addressing the budget and instead focusing on policy, with a budget address held at a later date.
Meanwhile, Nixon headed to private sector after leaving office. He’ll join Dowd Bennett, a Clayton law firm that handles white-collar criminal cases, regulatory matters and internal investigations, representing some of the nation’s biggest companies.
On Thursday, he said he still planned to speak out about the need for Medicaid expansion, clean air and water, and a more moderate Democratic party that won’t run off “into the far-left fringe.”
What he won’t do is make himself available to criticize Greitens after he departs, despite differing ideologies.
“Guys, it’s a hard job,” Nixon said. “Once he comes off that podium on Monday, and he takes the power of the office … kind of the strategy and the other stuff to get there and all the politics, that stuff fades away.”