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In the last couple of weeks, Governor Jay Nixon traveled to Springfield, St Louis, Kansas City, Fenton, and rural parts of Lincoln, Andrew and Cooper counties. On Wednesday, the House Budget chairman Representative Ryan Silvey expressed his frustration with the governor’s travel schedule with a series of tweets posted to his Twitter account. In an interview with KSMU Wednesday, Silvey raised questions about the necessity of the governor making so many trips at taxpayer expense.
“There are legitimate reasons to get in the plane and fly around the state, but I don’t think press conferences are necessarily one of them. It was just frustrating to see that again today,” Silvey said.
In a written statement to KSMU, Governor Jay Nixon’s communications director Sam Murphy said “Governor Nixon is fighting every single day to create jobs across Missouri, and that means getting out and hearing directly from the folks who are creating those jobs.” On Wednesday, Nixon traveled to meet with business leaders in Springfield and Elsberry, a small community north of St Louis.
Republican Representative Ryan Silvey led the charge this past session to stop Nixon, a democrat from being able to use money from state departments to fund his travel, a policy that affects Nixon as well as future governors. Silvey says that action should’ve sent Nixon a message about how much travel is appropriate.
”Certainly, we hoped that they would scale it back, figure out other ways to save money, maybe prioritize what is absolutely worth getting in the plane and flying across the state for, but it doesn’t appear that they’ve received the message. So I guess we’ll be exploring ways to send the message again,” Silvey said.
The statement from Governor Nixon also says “When it comes to growing our economy, it’s important for the Governor to meet with business leaders in every corner of Missouri. Gov. Nixon will continue to do just that.”
Another statewide elected official has come under criticism for traveling on the state’s dime in recent months. Republican Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder repaid the state more than $54,000 for trips involving charity, political, and other events not directly related to state business. Silvey says the difference between Kinder and Nixon is that Kinder repaid the state. Silvey adds that if Kinder had not taken that step, there likely would’ve raised questions about the purpose of the trips and whether they were directly related to his elected office.