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Governor Jay Nixon addressed the participants at Missouri Boys last evening in Hendricks Hall on the campus of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. After his opening remarks he took questions for over fifty minutes in a session, much like those that he has participated in at Boys State over the past fifteen years, that was freewheeling and addressed a wide number of subjects.

Governor Jay Nixon (D) at Missouri Boys State.

One of the evening’s remarkable exchanges was on the subject of compassion:

Question: …Down where I come from…we have a crisis center that’s actually having a really rough time. I’ve witnessed the director actually give food out of her own pantry to make sure someone has food for a complete month. Or give money out of her own pocket to pay for someone’s utility or rent bill. My question is, if anything, what are you planning to do to help out the local crises centers around the state?

Governor Jay Nixon: Yeah, I mean. First of all, [pause] it makes me feel good that you know.

Question: Okay.

Governor Jay Nixon: ‘Cause there’s a whole bunch of subjects, and you know, goofballs all across the state [audience reaction], that don’t know. Okay? First of all, you should not under, underestimate how valuable it is to have that basic sense of compassion for your fellow human being. And that understanding that certain people get bad breaks, okay? Whether it’s being born with less skills than some of you, or getting t-boned by some car at an intersection, or losing a job through no fault of their own. I mean, you shouldn’t be in this, you shouldn’t have come up here for this week and I shouldn’t be doing what I, what I’m doing if you don’t have a basic sense of compassion for those who have not been as lucky at this time in life as you have. [applause]

If  basic human compassion ever goes out of this country or this state then I’ll be as, as wild as the guy that I, I tried to inspire to, to revolution over here…

…So, so, what do we do? First of all, we’re trying to, to make sure that we use the, the aforementioned Recovery Act. We’ve been given about an additional one point seven million dollars of Recovery Act funds that will go in to, to the food banks and crises centers.

I’ve been personally working to, to volunteer myself. And work with the, with folks at, at food banks across the state. Tomorrow, Friday, excuse me, the First Lady will be in Kansas City… We’ve been trying to set the tone out there… When I was in the legislature, twenty some odd years ago, I was the one that, that worked hard to get school lunches, excuse me, school breakfasts for kids [garbled] that didn’t have, have food.

I mean, I, I just, all I ask is that at your church and your community and everything that you do, you, you all here, I mean you may feel like you’re, you’re poor…but there are people out there that are really, really hurting. And when they do, it’s not just government that solves this problems.  It’s not just a, a check from Washington or check from Jefferson City that, that solves this problems. Sometimes it requires, just like you said, you taking a dollar out of your own pocket or taking something that’s on your table and giving it to your fellow man and helping them with a hand up so that they can succeed. I’m not talking about hand outs. I’m talking about helping people when they’re really in need.

I hope that, that we never lose, and our faith doesn’t ever allow us to lose the basic unrest that we all should feel when someone, through no fault of their own, is hurting….But when people are really hurting we’ve gotta count on communities to help us, too. [applause]