Nixon addresses health care, education in Democratic response
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Nixon addresses health care, education in Democratic response

Date: January 24, 2007
By: Matt Tilden
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Two hours before Gov. Blunt's State of the State address Wednesday night, state Democrats had already released their response. 

In the response, which was released on the Missouri Democratic Party's Web site, presumptive gubernatorial candidate Jay Nixon primarily addressed the issues of health care and education, stating his opposition to many of the governor's proposals.

Nixon cited progress in health care in other states in an attempt to criticize Blunt's policies. "These governors and others are taking creative approaches to make health care available to all citizens," he said. "While [they] are leading their states to expand health care options, our governor is slashing health care, and leaving too many of our families with no health care at all." 

While not using the term "universal health care" specifically, Nixon said that the Democrats' ultimate goal is to provide the maximum amount of care with the money available.  "Tonight, the governor presented a record-breaking budget," he said, adding: "Democrats will make restoring the cuts to Medicaid and health care our No. 1 priority.  And the governor should as well."

Nixon also addressed the issue of education, condemning the governor's policies as a cause of high college tuition costs for Missourians.  "Under Governor Blunt, the cost of tuition has risen dramatically.  It now costs nearly half of a working family's annual income to send a child to college."  Nixon cited other states like Georgia that he said he believes are making significant progress toward making college affordable. 

Gov. Blunt's proposal to sell more than $300 millon worth of assets fom the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority has been one of the biggest topics of the legislative session so far.  Nixon stated his opposition to the governor's plan, calling it "evidence of the fundamentally flawed priorities of the political leaders in Jefferson City". 

Nixon said he believes that Missouri is trailing other states in issues such as renewable energy and appeal to business.  He also applauded the minimum wage increase passed by voters in November.

Nixon's speech also rebuked the Blunt administration for its energy policy, calling into question rate hikes by the energy companies after the power outages of the past year. "There's simply no excuse for rewarding the outages we've seen over the past year."

Nixon filed a lawsuit last month against electric company AmerenUE after Missourians were left without electricity due to destructive weather.