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Holden Interview (Continued)

KSMU's Missy Shelton continues her interview with outgoing governor Bob Holden.

SHELTON: WHEN DEMOCRATIC GOVERNOR BOB HOLDEN TOOK OFFICE IN JANUARY OF 2001, THE STATE FACED DECLINING REVENUES ON THE ONE HAND AND INCREASING DEMANDS FOR SERVICES ON THE OTHER HAND.

ONLY IN THE LAST YEAR A AND A HALF HAS THE STATE ECONOMY SEEN A BIT OF A TURN-AROUND.

GOVERNOR HOLDEN...WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO PRESIDE OVER A STATE ECONOMY THAT WAS IN A DOWNTURN?

HOLDEN: IT'S BEEN DIFFICULT FOR GOVERNORS ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY. I'VE HAD, AS MOST PEOPLE HAVE SAID A UNIQUE SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES. WE HAD A DOWNTURN IN THE NATIONAL ECONOMY. WE CONTINUE TO GET UNFUNDED MANDATES FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. THE STOCK MARKET WENT SOUTH. WE HAD A CHANGE IN POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IN JEFFERSON CITY. ALL THOSE FACTORS ALONG WITH 9-11 CONSPIRED TO MAKE A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION. BUT WE STAYED FOCUSED AND ADDED MONEY TO EDUCATION. MISSOURIANS CAN BE PROUD.

SHELTON: EARLY IN YOUR TERM, THE REPUBLICANS WON CONTROL OF THE SENATE...THEN TWO YEARS AGO, REPUBLICANS WON A MAJORITY OF SEATS IN THE STATE HOUSE...WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT YOUR DEMOCRATIC ADMINISTRATION?

HOLDEN: THE SENATE WENT TO THE REPUBLICANS VERY EARLY IN MY ADMINISTRATION. THE HOUSE TURNED IN 02. IT MADE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO PROVIDE DIRECTION FOR THE STATE BUT MY PROBLEM WASN'T WITH ALL REPUBLICANS AS IT WAS...BECAUSE OF TERM LIMITS, THE NEW BREED OF LAWMAKERS LOOK FOR INSTANT HEADLINES AND DON'T FOCUS ON LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS. FOR EXAMPLE, WITH THE BUDGET CRISIS, I OFFERED LIMITED BONDING PROPOSALS, CIGARETTE TAX INCREASES AND THE GAMING FEES, CLOSING CORPORATE TAX LOOPHOLES...ALL THESE THING TO ADDRESS THE PROBLEM AND THEY WOULDN'T GIVE ME THESE TOOLS. SO THE NEW GOVERNOR WILL HAVE A MUCH MORE DIFFICULT PROBLEM TO DEAL WITH AS HE ENTERS OFFICE.

SHELTON: REPUBLICAN MATT BLUNT WILL BE SWORN INTO OFFICE ON JANUARY 10TH...WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO HELP WITH THE TRANSITION?

HOLDEN: LORI AND I INVITED MATT AND HIS WIFE TO HAVE DINNER AT THE MANSION. WE VISITED AND SHOWED THEM AROUND. I TOLD MY STAFF I WANT A SMOOTH TRANSITION. HE'S GOT A HUGE RESPONSIBILITY AND WE NEED TO GET BEHIND THE GOVENROR SO HE CAN DO THE BEST JOB POSSIBLE.

SHELTON: WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU...ARE YOU PLANNING TO RUN FOR OFFICE AGAIN?

HOLDEN: RIGHT NOW, WE'RE FOCUSED ON THE TRANSITION. I'M IN CONVERSATIONS WITH A LOT OF BUSINESSES, COLLEGES, UNIVERSITIES, NATIONAL FOUNDATIONS. I HAVEN'T MADE ANY DECISIONS, PROBABLY WON'T UNTIL THE END OF THE YEAR, OR SOMETIME IN JANUARY. OUR INTENT SHORT-TERM IS TO STAY IN JEFFERSON CITY SO THE BOYS CAN FINISH THIS YEAR IN JEFFERSON CITY.

SHELTON: FINALLY, GOVERNOR...HOW DO YOU WANT TO BE REMEMBERED?

HOLDEN: THAT I WAS SOMEONE THAT TOOK THIS JOB SERIOUSLY. I FOCUSED ON THE RIGHT PRIORITIES OF FUNDING EDUCATION, ADDING ACCOUNTABILITY TO EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE OF OUR FAMILIES AND ALWAYS THOUGHT ABOUT WHAT'S IN THE BEST INTEREST OF TRANSITIONING THIS ECONOMY SO THAT MISSOURI CAN CONTINUE TO BE THE GREATEST PLACE IN THIS COUNTRY TO LIVE.

I'VE BEEN SPEAKING WITH GOVERNOR BOB HOLDEN...HE'LL LEAVE OFFICE ON JANUARY 10TH.