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Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) speaking at Boys State on the campus of the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg on Sunday evening.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) has participated as a keynote speaker at Boys State almost every year since 1993, coinciding with the beginning of his sixteen year tenure as Attorney General. The Governor clearly relishes the freewheeling (yet respectful) atmosphere and the frank give and take of the question and answer session. A case in point, his answer tonight to a question on Arizona’s recently enacted SB 1070:  

….Question: …What’s your personal opinion re, regarding the immigration law recently signed by the Governor of the State of Arizona? [crosstalk] Thank you very much.

Governor Jay Nixon (D): Um, Governor Brewer signed two laws. Um, the first one that she signed, uh, I, I have serious problems with. I mean, which, if you’re gonna require people in the United States of America to, to, show their identification papers just because they’re walkin’ around, I mean,  in order for them to have the right to walk through, a city square or walk through a park. That you could be stopped and demanded to prove in that setting that, that, that you’re, you know, a citizen or you’re American or whatever.  I, I think that is way over the top. I, I, man, oh man, I, I [applause], it, it . [inaudible] We need to think about people working together. We need to increase the number of people of all, we, we, I mean, the Statue of Liberty was given to us by France as a gift because we were the melting pot of the world. I mean, everyone of you, when you talk to your mom or your dad or your grandma or your grandpa, they’ll talk about how they were German or how about they were English or how they were Swiss or Norwegian or whatever. And, and in one or two generations everybody wants to ignore all that, and act like we’re just these, these Americans things. We have great roots all around the world and the future of the economic engine of the world is not gonna be sitting here in, in Henry County in the middle of Missouri bunkered down. We’ve gotta, we gotta join this new world.

So, the first piece, um, that, of that law I, I obviously somewhat mildly disagree with. [laughter] Um, [inaudible] they cleaned it up a little bit. I do believe that, that for national security purposes, uh, we need to have secure borders, uh, we need to make sure that we know who’s crossing those borders, and we’re certainly entitled if somebody comes into our country at in particular time, or if someone is here illegally, to, to deal with those issues and, and to, to send those folks back to their country of origin. Um, you know, so , like I say, I think that, that Arizona took a political solution in which they tried to be the toughest in the world that I think crossed a line that’s not a line we should cross in America. I think basic civil rights, basic individual freedom is extremely important and, and, and just because it’s, it’s after one group today doesn’t mean that it’s, it’s not gonna be after another group tomorrow.

I mean, the Constitution is a great document. Probably the best document ever written, but after it was in power, it was in for only a few short years, they figured out they forgot some stuff. So they came back and they did the Bill of Rights and I would just recommend to y’all, you know, politicians run around, hold up the Constitution all the time. Don’t forget to hold up those first, those first ten Bill of Rights, too. The freedom of press, freedom of religion, you know, freedom to counsel, you know freedom to, you know, the freedom to bear arms, I mean, you know, you don’t, you know. [cheers, applause] I think in that first piece Arizona crossed the line….

We’ll write more on Governor Nixon’s opening remarks and other portions of the question and answer session in a subsequent post.