ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–In an election year with jobs on the minds of voters, Governor Nixon toured a growing research lab here to highlight the state’s growth of start-up companies.
Nixon visited St. Louis BioGenerator Accelerator Labs in the Central West End, where 13 start-up companies are housed. The governor pointed to the lab as an example of entrepreneurial growth in Missouri that placed the state high in a recent ranking by the Kaufman Foundation.
“The fact that we went to 6th from 35th in entrepreneurial activity in one year is a dramatic, important signal that Missouri is a great place to start a business, especially in the scientific and technology area,” Nixon said.
Nixon was praised for his work to help foster start-up company growth by Donn Rubin, President and CEO of BioSTL, a coalition of universities, entrepreneurs and researchers, who foster collaborations to grow the bio-science industry in the region.
“The Jay Nixon Administration took a rather mundane, ordinary loan program and by infusing with creativity turned it into a national model of a program to fund early start up companies,” Rubin said.
In the midst of a hot-and-cold recovery, Nixon was asked about a report that while 24,000 jobs were added in Missouri in January and February, the state labor force shrunk by 30,000 jobs in the same time frame.
“Yeah, certainly we look at all the numbers,” Nixon said, “We’re trying to get more people to work. We’re trying to make sure we get that unemployment rate down so that more people looking for jobs are finding jobs.”
Turning to politics, Nixon was asked about his position on a Missouri Senate bill that would allow employers to deny health care coverage to employees seeking contraceptives — if the employer objects for religious reasons.
“We already have a religious exemption on the books in the state of Missouri,” Nixon said, “It’s a strong right of individuals and faiths to make those choices.”
Nixon addressed the controversy over conservative broadcaster Rush Limbaugh , and whether he is deserving of a bust in the capitol’s Hall of Famous Missourians. Earlier in the week, Women’s rights groups delivered 35,000 petition signatures to the speaker of the Missouri House opposing his plan to induct Limbaugh into the Hall of Fame.
“To me the model of Walt Disney, folks who did incredible things who passed on (died), looking at the body of work of their life, it’s important to note that,” Nixon said, “Black Jack Pershing who led the fight of our expeditionary forces for World War One. Folks like that.”
Nixon also responded to political pundits who have warned that the August primary fight between Democratic Congressmen Clay and Carnahan could hurt voter turnout in November and lessen the re-election chances of Nixon who is a democrat, and the chances of Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill.
“I really don’t analyze it that way,” Nixon said, “We have a presidential election this year. There’s gonna be lots of people wanting to speak.”
When asked whether he’ll make an endorsement in the Clay-Carnahan contest, Nixon indicated he will consider it, but tip-toed around which way he might be leaning.