Jay Nixon has announced his senior staff and communications team, ten people in all. The list is heavy on folks who’ve worked for Nixon as Attorney General. Other than that, the two names that stand out to me are the new Communications Director, Jack Cardetti, who has been the Communications Director for the state party, and the new Policy Director, Jeff Harris, who was a state rep from Columbia and who lost in his bid last August for the Democratic nomination for Attorney General.
Anti-CAFO activists are joyful at the appointment. Not only are they about to have a governor who has said:
“We must join together to protect our parks as well as our rural farmland from the factory farm and the resulting emissions, runoff and smells. [emphasis mine]
They will also have a man helping to set policy who will remind Nixon–should the governor ever need it–of the damage done by those stinking, inhumane, polluting, local economy destroying, health threats (to both rural and urban dwellers alike).
Harris butted his head against a Republican wall last year trying to get two bills heard. One would have mandated that no CAFO could be located within five miles of a state park or historic site. The other would have granted local control over whether a CAFO could be built in a community. Considering how unpopular these monstrosities are among many rural Missourians, the Republican House leaders didn’t want to put their members on the spot by allowing a vote on either bill.
Everybody’s talking the bipartisan religion, now that the lege is about to gin up in these tough economic times, but I don’t expect the Republicans to suddenly allow any bills to be heard like those Harris introduced last session. ‘Sokay, though. Let’s just see who gets the nod from Nixon to run the DNR. Let’s see how easy it is to get licensed to build a new one these next four years. Mm-hmmm. Let’s just see.
True. Not that Nixon should need reminding. I think Harris as anti-CAFO activist will meet with better success in this role than as a legislative wheeler and dealer. Standing up and pounding your fist works a lot better when you’re the top dog in the governor’s office than when you are in the minority in the legislature.