Northwest Missourians sizing up the candidates for governor rightly should put stock in what they have seen with their own eyes and experienced in their own lives.

When they do, we think many will agree Gov. Jay Nixon has earned a second four-year term.

The last four years have included flood and drought, as well as the devastation of Joplin. We still are fighting to pull out of the national recession. We still need to rein in state tax credits to free up additional funds for government services. We still must strive to improve the competitiveness of the state’s businesses and citizens in a global economy.

In these times, our pragmatic Democratic governor has stayed focused on the immediate tasks of keeping the state on solid financial footing, providing a determined government response to disasters and working with the Republican-controlled legislature to advance our long-term economic interests.

He cites his accomplishment of “bringing people together from both parties” to balance the budget, hold the line on general tax increases and maintain the state’s AAA bond rating. He also notes our unemployment rate is consistently below the national average.

He wins friends in rural areas for his efforts to expand agricultural export markets, oppose tax increases on farmland and fully fund the ethanol producer incentive fund. He also was against a potential federal regulation affecting child labor on farms.

While business interests see Mr. Nixon as a roadblock to needed labor-law reforms, he has been active in promoting the state to new and expanding businesses. And while higher education funding has been cut, Mr. Nixon can point to his concerted efforts to make college more accessible and affordable.

Also, many will not soon forget his frequent visits to show support for those affected by last year’s flooding and this year’s record-setting dry conditions. He has been a reliable advocate for a greater state say in management of the Missouri River and was effective in devising ways to get immediate financial help to drought-stricken farmers.

Mr. Nixon, a native of De Soto and a former four-term state attorney general, faces Republican challenger and businessman Dave Spence of Ladue and Libertarian Jim Higgins of St. Louis in the Nov. 6 election.

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