JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Catherine Hanaway says Missouri needs a governor who can lead on public-safety issues.
Hanaway, a federal prosecutor and former Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, is one of the four candidates running in a hotly contested Republican primary for governor. Incumbent Jay Nixon, a Democrat, is barred by term limits from running for another term. Fellow Democrat Chris Koster, currently the attorney general, is expected to win the Democratic primary.
KRCG 13 invited each of the four candidates to stop by our studios for an in-depth, one-on-one interview. Hanaway, John Brunner and Peter Kinder each agreed to an interview. Eric Greitens’ campaign never agreed to an interview despite repeated requests.
Hanaway said weak leadership is to blame for violent crime spikes in St. Louis and Kansas City and for the University of Missouri protests. She said UM System President Tim Wolfe and MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin resigned amid the November 2015 protests in part because of fears of violence stemming from the protests.
“If you talk to people that were close to the situation that led to the resignation of the president, they will tell you that they believed that they had to respond in that way because there was real and present threats that there would be the same kind of violence in Columbia that there was in Ferguson,” she said.
Hanaway said the governor needs to be responsive to concerns expressed at the university. She said Gov. Nixon should have gone to campus and listened to both students and university officials. Hanaway said as governor, she would nominate university curators from a variety of career fields, including medicine, business and agriculture, to reflect the four-campus system’s mission.
Hanaway expressed skepticism that MoDOT and K-12 education are underfunded. She said MoDOT has lost credibility with her because the agency has been able to meet matching federal funds despite initially saying it couldn’t do so. Hanaway said she would investigate to make sure MoDOT was spending money as efficiently as possible and to ensure money is going toward roads and bridges rather than bike paths.
On education, Hanaway said K-12 funding is already at record levels. She said a better way to fix failing schools is to allow more local control over course content and to allow parents to choose which school to send their child to. She also favors bringing teacher pay up to par with inflation.
“More money doesn’t fix schools. If it did, the city of St. Louis would have the finest test scores in the state,” she said.
On the subject of ethics reform, Hanaway called herself “the only person in this race who has ever put a corrupt politician in jail.” She said she would set an example for personal conduct, noting that during her time as House Speaker, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch opined that “praying had replaced partying” at the State Capitol. Hanaway said she would support a ban on all gifts from lobbyists as governor, as well as a four-year cooling off period before former lawmakers could become lobbyists. She dismissed the six-month period approved by lawmakers this year as “lip service.” Hanaway said she does not support campaign donation limits because mega-donors could simply find a way to indirectly help a candidate of their choice.