Republicans respond to State of the State Address
JEFFERSON CITY - Governor Jay Nixon issued his annual State of the State address Wednesday night and republicans issued their response. On a number of issues they had fundamental differences in opinion.
Nixon said he was pleased with law enforcement in Ferguson, and republicans didn't have any problem with that. What they did have a problem with, was what they called a lack of leadership during the crisis.
"Our governor failed to communicate his policies and fulfill his promises and Missourians paid the price as Ferguson was looted and destroyed," said House Speaker, Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country.
While Nixon didn't focus on welfare reform in his speech, Republicans called for changes to the current welfare system in Missouri. The GOP wants only those who truly need aid to receive welfare payment.
"Our goal is to make sure welfare is working in its proper role as a safety net for those who truly need help," Rep. Diehl said.
The key change in philosophy the republicans hold though is in their vision for improving education in the state.
Republicans argue spending more money doesn't necessarily make the situation better. Instead, they suggest giving the 62,000 K-12 students going to unaccredited school districts more options for their education.
"We must further expand...their [students'] educational opportunities by providing more choice in the form of additional charter schools," Rep. Diehl said.
As the state tries to progress on a number of fronts, Nixon may face a stiff test in the legislature. The House of Representatives has 118 republicans to just 45 democrats. Meanwhile, the Senate is controlled by republicans by a 23-9 count.
Since both are controlled by republicans by more than a two-thirds vote, lawmakers can override any potential gubernatorial veto.
[Editor's note: This story has been updated for clarity.]