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Wilson criticizes Blunt's education record

August 27, 2004
By: David Ferrucci and Ben Welsh
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - Former Missouri Governor Roger Wilson criticized GOP gubernatorial nominee Matt Blunt's record on education Friday.

"If you ever want to see someone's true priorities see how they vote on the budget," Wilson said.

As a member of the Missouri House, Blunt voted against an education budget in 2000, which Wilson said would have better funded schools.

John Hancock, a spokesman for the Blunt campaign, disputes Wilson's claim.

"The truth of the matter is that those votes prove Matt Blunt makes education a top priority," Hancock said. "He voted against all the appropriation bills that year because he did not believe the state was funding education at an appropriate level."

Wilson, a Columbia resident, was the last Democratic Gov. prior to Gov. Bob Holden.

State Auditor Claire McCaskill named Wilson the new party head after she defeated Holden in the primary election. Wilson was among the first high profile members of the Democratic Party to endorse McCaskill instead of the incumbent, Holden.

Friday's press conference was his first as the Democratic Party chair.

Wilson said his main goal in the upcoming election is to keep the party focused.

"I believe my job as chairman is to make sure that we don't get mired in the emotionally driven vote-getting schemes," Wilson said.