The remarkable career and bright future of Missouri’s governor
Jefferson City, Mo. — ‘Follow me! Let’s go!” shouted Eric Greitens to a cheering crowd on May 23. Then the Republican governor of Missouri left his podium and led several busloads of people up a curving stairway on the north side of the state capitol, through his office, and into the building’s dim halls. They waved signs, plastered doors with petitions, and urged lawmakers to pass a bill that Greitens says will bring jobs to the state’s southeast corner, its beleaguered “Bootheel” region. Their rally culminated with speeches and ovations on the third floor, just outside a room that holds a set of murals called “A Social History of Missouri,” one of the most celebrated works of art by the painter Thomas Hart Benton.
Missouri’s annual legislative session had ended less than two weeks earlier, but Greitens ordered lawmakers back to Jefferson City for a special session to focus on a single issue that had stalled earlier in the spring: allowing the state’s utilities commission to slash electricity rates for factories in the Bootheel, in the hope that a shuttered aluminum smelter will reopen and a new steel mill rise up. “When people have jobs in a thriving economy, it solves a lot of problems,” says Greitens.