Gov. Jay Nixon said tactics, agenda won't change despite historic Democratic defeat
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Gov. Jay Nixon said tactics, agenda won't change despite historic Democratic defeat

Date: November 5, 2014
By: Meghan Boggess
State Capitol Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - One day after his party lost a number of legislative seats, Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon said he will not change his tactics or agenda following his party's election day defeat.

Republicans now hold veto-proof majorities in both chambers, with the second largest number of seats held by a single party in the House since it was expanded to 163 members.

Republicans gained one seat in the Senate and eight in the House on Tuesday, followed by another gain when Rep. Linda Black from St. Francois County announced she would switch from Democrat to Republican.

However, Nixon said his administration is already on the right path for success at a press conference Wednesday.

"Just 'cause a couple of different people got elected didn't mean Missouri dramatically changed yesterday," Nixon said. "I know the state pretty well and I think I'm in a unique opportunity here with two years to go to push extra hard to get things done, and I will."

Nixon did not, however, cite any specific proposal he would bring before the GOP-controlled legislature, although he continued to defend his call for Medicaid expansion that has failed the last two years in the legislature.

Nixon said he didn't know if it would move forward in the next session and that he would meet with new leadership before setting an agenda for Medicaid legislation.

"I don't think of it as a partisan issue, I think of it as a Missouri issue," Nixon said.

Nixon announced a new cabinet member and chief of staff at the press conference as well, naming Nia Ray as the new Department of Revenue director. Ray is the current Division of Employment Security director at the Department of Labor.

John Mollenkamp, who served as acting director for the Department of Revenue, will return to his position as deputy director under Ray.

Nixon appointed Chris Pieper, his administration's senior legal and policy adviser, as the new chief of staff. Pieper will take over for John Watson, who served as Nixon's chief of staff for six years. Watson will now serve as Nixon's senior adviser.

Nixon also defended barring agency officials from talking to the press, specifically on public health issues such as Ebola.

"We're gonna keep the same rules of engagement we've had before," Nixon said. "Maybe the state epidemiologist is working, not sitting there waiting for somebody to call. We make information available."

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