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Thanks to State Auditor Nicole Galloway, Missouri is number one in an important area. Not only number one, but the only state even in the running. If you want to know more, keep reading.

Galloway was appointed by former Governor Jay Nixon after the death in 2015 of her predecessor in the office, Tom Schweich. Since then she’s been very busy doing a bang-up job. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune, Galloway is “on her way to becoming one of the best auditors in state history” in part because she “shows an inclination to exploit the office in unprecedented ways.” It’s the tendency to look at her job with fresh eyes that has made her a bona fide Missouri political star who does as much or – and given the current status quo – probably more to to advance quality of life in Missouri than many of our elected representatives.

A segment on the NPR radio show, The Takeaway, highlights one of the directions Galloway’s “unprecedented” approach to her job has taken: cybersecurity audits. In the wake of the Equifax hacking, Galloway has emphasized the fact that her office has made examining the mechanisms in place to insure cybersecurity “a priority across all facets of [state] government.” As the Takeaway segment noted, that goal has been extended to the data collected and retained in the public school system where digital tools have gradually become omnipresent.

So here, I bet you’re scratching your head and asking why would anyone hack a public school, why does the data schools collect need to be secured. It’s just information about kids. And there you have your answer: kids have clean credit records; they don’t usually have have a credit status at all. That means that their personal information can be used by hackers to open false accounts that will remain viable for years – until the student reaches age eighteen and finds that he or she can’t secure a line of credit because their identity was hi-jacked and their credit worthiness wrecked. There have already been incidents where school data has been stolen, although, primarily because nobody wants to be blamed for negligence, most have slipped under the radar and the problem has been under-reported.

But that’s not likely to be the case in Missouri. Thanks to Galloway’s offer to provide cybersecurity audits to public school systems, Missouri is the only state making any kind of effort to safeguard public school data. Just think. For once Missouri is playing a leading role in dealing with an emergent problem. And it’s all because we have a state auditor who is able to identify potential problem areas and act proactively to address them.

But never fear. Mediocrity – or, worse, disaster – is still out there, stalking the auditor’s office. Galloway has declared that she will run again for the office in 2018. To my knowledge, there are currently two Republicans who want her job: standard GOP drone, Bruce Wasinger and Tea Party golden boy (and, incidentally, goldbug) State Rep. Paul Curtman (R-109), whom I’m guessing is term-limited and casting about for a safe berth while he searches for a more high-profile opportunity.

Think about it. Change a fresh, vital and highly qualified auditor who has revitalized the position for ho-hum, fresh-off-the-GOP-assembly line Wasinger. Or worse, Curtman, the mini Greitens (loves guns; emotive, faux-heroic rhetoric; and reminds you of his military record every time he opens his mouth), all-in-all a Trump-lover’s dream boy. See what I mean about lurking disaster.

*Edited slightly to correct typos and add clarity (10/25/17, 1:33 pm).