JEFFERSON CITY _ Appearing in Missouri's Capitol for the first time since she was ousted from office last fall, Missouri's former Secretary of State said she might get back into politics in 1996.
"We've recently seen people elected who were convicted of crimes," Judi Moriarty said Tuesday (April 25). "The mayor of Washington D.C. was elected after he served time in prison. He was convicted of a much graver crime than the misdemeanor I was convicted of."
But if the size of the audience that turned out for Moriarty's appearance is any indication, she will face an uphill battle to build an effective campaign organization.
Fewer than a dozen people _ not counting reporters _ turned out for the ceremony sponsored by the Constitutional Justice Society, a little-known civil liberties organization that presented Moriarty with its Statesman of the Year award Tuesday.
Moriarty was removed from office last year by the state Supreme Court after impeachment by the House for illegally putting her son on the ballot for a state legislative race. She also was convicted of a misdemeanor criminal offense for the action.
After speaking to a nearly empty rotunda, Moriarty told reporters she was not certain what direction she would try to take with her career at this point. She did not rule out running again for her old job as Secretary of State.
"It would be a certain feeling of, I don't if you would call it justice, justification," Moriarty said when asked why she would consider re-entering the political arena.
"Somehow I have to know what the people think...and I don't know that I will ever know unless I run for office again," she said.
Moriarty said she felt nostalgic about returning to the statehouse but did not plan to visit her old office.
The Constitutional Justice Society also recognized Rep. Ken Jacob, D-Columbia, who was a vocal supporter of Moriarty throughout the impeachment process.
"It was very difficult for me to think about this legislative session and to have to work with the people I was fighting against in Judi's defense," Jacob said. "But somehow I've been able to put those feelings aside and recognize that human beings make mistakes."
During his remarks, Jacob characterized the impeachment as "a group of people stumbling down a course that was wrong from the beginning."
Jacob, facing rows of empty seats that had been set up in the rotunda, hugged Moriarty after receiving his award.
In the ceremony's printed program, the group consistently misspelled Moriarty's name "Moriarity."