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Previously: A conversation with State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D) (October 20, 2011)

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D) was in Warrensburg Thursday afternoon and evening for a few events and interviews. We sat down with him for a conversation at a downtown coffee shop early in the afternoon.

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D) talking with voters at a coffee shop in downtown Warrensburg.

The final portion of the transcript:

State Treasurer Clint Zweifel (D): There are always bright lights and examples of individuals on both sides who have been willing to take political risks to stand up for what is right for America in the long term. Um, I, I saw some of that action on the Simpson Bowles Commission early on when they were talking about, uh, deficit issues and, and fiscal issues long term. Agree or disagree with the report, there was people on both sides of the aisle on that commission that voted for something that enable, that, that forced them, that they chose to take political risks by supporting it, both Democrats and Republicans. And, and I think individuals like that deserve credit for being willing to stand up and do that. And that doesn’t mean sacrificing your values, but that means, um, at least standing up and being able to say, hey, this is sort of what, what a beginning conversation looks like on the deficit. And we’re all willing to sort of stand up and, and support it at level, at least the start of that conversation. I think that at the state level there are still tremendous opportunities and I think part of that is, ultimately, I think when you have a, uh, an environment where party, where you have, uh, split leadership in the executive branch and, and in the legislature there’s opportunities for that. I would say that, that the loser the parties are, are aligned, uh, numbers wise in the House and the Senate probably produces a little bit more rational results. So, uh, more of a fifty fifty mix is probably better for voters in the long term I think…

…Um, having legislative districts that are drawn in the way, Mike, that, that allow really true competitive districts, uh, so that, you know, Democrats and Republicans are, and, and third parties if you will are out there competing for those votes and, and, and competing and, and trying to get their message out I think produces the best public policy long term. So I think one of the pieces to that is redistricting. And if you have competitive districts you’re gonna have more rational actors in the process.

Show Me Progress: Yeah, and while the legislative districts are still in flux, uh, I remember the comment from Claire McCaskill was that Missouri is not a six – two state. It’s a, you know, it’s, it’s, uh, much closer than that, uh.

Treasurer Zweifel: I think that’s right.

Show Me Progress: Yeah, definitely.

Um, getting to your campaign, um, right now, you know, as we look at, at the reports and, and everything else you really haven’t, no, no name has come up for somebody to challenge you. Uh, but at the same time, somebody can. And as we know, you know, the, you still have to run and, uh, so you’ve been, you know, going out across the state and, and doing the fundraising thing that all candidates unfortunately have to do. Um, as you go through this process, um, do you find that, that you, you talk to people about the campaign and they’re, that they say things like, well, you don’t have a, you don’t have an opponent yet. You know, uh, but ultimately do you, do you say, tell them things like, well, but look at the history of this state, you know, you’ll always draw an opponent.

Treasurer Zweifel: You know, I think we get a little bit of that, but, you know, I was talking to a friend on the way out here and, I think, you know, looking back at, at, at where we started, um, running for office for the first time statewide in two thousand eight, looking back at my first run in two thousand two for the, for the House, I couldn’t be more proud of where we are from a campaign perspective at this point, Mike. I think that everything that we’ve done on the campaign, uh, the issues we’ve talked about, uh, they way we approach the campaign is very similar to the way I govern, uh, uh, in that we’re really talking to people, um, constantly talking to individuals. You know, on the campaign side, uh, I’ve been traveling the state, uh, we’ve touched every county from a policy perspective and political perspective in the state. Uh, secondly, the amount of donors that we’re getting support from right now is, is through the roof. I mean individual donors. Uh, they’re sometimes giving five or ten dollars, they’re sometimes giving five hundred dollars, but these are individuals, and sixty percent of them since I started are brand new. Uh, so there’s a lot of excitement right there. I think from, from our base and looking forward, uh, to the election knowing that there’s probably going to be a competitive election, Missouri’s a competitive state, that’s okay. And they’re accepting of that and embracing that just as, just as I am. Uh, but, but I think that they aren’t trying to do too much analysis on who’s running or what type of candidate it’s gonna be. It’s more like, hey, let’s, let’s make sure that we’re prepared long term, um, to not only win this office but to be prepared to, to play a leadership role in the state for the long term.

Show Me Progress: And, so, in, in the long view, as you know it’s, it’s still, you know, the election is [crosstalk]…

Treasurer Zweifel: Right.

Show Me Progress: …almost a year out. Um, what do you see will be the, the big challenge in, leading up to the two thousand twelve election getting your message out about what you think is important about the role of the state treasurer and what you’ve done and, and all that that entails.

Treasurer Zweifel: Yeah. I think the most important thing that I can do is, is provide clarity and certainty in, in how I communicate what I’ve been working on to voters. Uh, you know, I’m personally really excited and passionate about the projects that we’ve worked on so I think it’s gonna show through in the campaign, it’s gonna show through on one on one conversations, it’s gonna show through on, on speeches to two hundred people. Uh, and I think when you do that and you have passion about what you do and what you care about it, it shows through and it takes care of a lot of the things that create a lot of uncertainty that we do worry about, right. I mean, you know, is there gonna be excitement about an election, well, you don’t have an opponent yet, those sort of things. I think that you knock yourself against a wall if you think too much about those things and, and it’s not a very productive. The more important thing to do is proactively think about things that you can do to improve the job you’re doing, to improve your communication and a lot of other things tend to take care of themselves with that. Uh, and, you know, you get that excitement that, that, you know, I can already sense it right now at this point in the campaign. You know, you can feel people getting excited about things when I’m on the phone with them or meeting with them personally, so.

Show Me Progress: Yeah, and, and ultimately the, it’s that communicating with the voters about what you do, that it makes a difference.

Treasurer Zweifel: I think that’s right. And I think that in every area that I’ve worked on in the office we’ve been able to quantify a tangible difference in the lives of Missourians. Small business loans, agriculture loans, helping families save for college, we now have the fifth best college savings plan in the nation, uh, we have a triple A credit rating, we, uh, you know, we, we worked on something that I’ve w
orked on for eighteen months and we’ve been successful in, in helping put real money toward the mentally ill, uh, those that are suffering from a high risk of being homeless who are mentally ill. These are veterans, uh, these are foster kids that are aging out of the foster care system. We’re gonna, we’re gonna put real, this was done bipartisan on the Housing Commission and we had support and for the first time ever we’re putting real resources into that. So, I’m, I’m really proud of our record and I think that’s gonna come through in the campaign in a big way, so.

Show Me Progress: Well, thank you very much for your time.

Treasurer Zweifel: it’s really good to see you. Thank you.