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Missouri Gov. Bob Holden delivers State of the State Address

January 30, 2001
By: Renny MacKay
State Capital Bureau

Bob Holden called education and a balanced budget his priorities in the state of the state address. But, Republicans say he was vague when he addressed several other issues.

Renny MacKay reports on the new Governor's first state of the state address.

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In his speech that lasted almost an hour, Governor Holden touched on several major issues, starting with the need for a balanced budget.

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Contents: Holden says the state's economy isn't in the best shape and therefore the state must "tighten its belt" and produce a balanced budget.

This, along with his statement that education should be a priority received support from both the Democrats and Republicans.

It was among the details for an education plan that the parties differed. The governor said he wants to get more Missouri teachers to go through the National Board Certification program, which is a rigorous testing process.

He also wants to go a step further with report cards for the state's schools.

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Contents: The Governor says he wants parents to be able to see how Missouri schools are spending their money and get information on the schools and classes.

The Governor also wants to get more technology into the schools and more character education programs.

The Republican legislative leaders didn't so much have a problem with what the governor said, but what he didn't say.

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Contents: Kinder says Holden neglected to mention the "crisis" in Missouri's urban schools.

That is Senate President Pro Tem Peter Kinder who wants to see more charter schools in St. Louis.

The other major issues facing the state this year is coming up with a plan for the state's transportation needs. Governor Holden...

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Contents: Holden says transportation is a prime example of a missed opportunity in Missouri.

But many are saying this speech was a missed opportunity for the governor as he failed to lay out a specific plan to deal with the transportation problems.

The Republicans also criticized Holden about his plan for the tobacco settlement. He said he'll issue an executive order to put the money into the Healthy Families Trust Fund. But Republicans question his right to do this without approval of the people or the general assembly.

However, they didn't criticize his plans for the money, which include anti smoking campaigns, more research in the life sciences, childcare and cutting prescription drug costs for the elderly. But, Holden emphasized the need to get access to the tobacco money this year.

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Contents: He says that getting money from the tobacco settlement is important if he's to start this program for prescription drugs. He also says that Missouri is one of the few states in the nation that aren't using their money from the settlement.

If he's to do it, he may have to find another way, as Republicans, like House Minority leader Catherine Hanaway, say they'll work to block this effort.

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Contents: She says that this plan by the Governor circumvents the people and the legislature and they have always said they will put allocation of this money to a vote of the people.

During the address Holden also spoke about the need to improve women's health care, prevent domestic violence and pass a point zero eight blood alcohol content bill to put Missouri in line with federal law.

For Missouri Captital Caucus, I'm Renny MacKay.