The St. Louis American endorsed Nicole Galloway for Auditor in 2018 and declared that she may be the most competent and diligent auditor in the state’s history. We called her one of the most capable and accountable public officials we have ever observed in any statewide office in Missouri. Today, we stand by this belief.
In 2018, Galloway pulled off the only statewide Democratic victory in Missouri, running as an incumbent against a laughably incompetent Republican challenger. On November 3, she is running as a Democratic challenger against a laughably incompetent Republican incumbent. The latest polls that show the race is competitive. A strong turnout from the Democratic base – and a diminution of support for a demonstratively corrupt, indecent, inept and increasingly unhinged Donald J. Trump – could send Parson, a former sheriff and rancher, back to the cow pasture.
St. Louis is at a crossroads. COVID-19 has devastated our community and exposed countless racial disparities in health and access to health care. Republican voter suppression efforts continue to restrain Missourians from participating in democracy. And the recent deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (among others) highlight the policing and criminal justice work that is left undone.
No one is going to be elected governor of Missouri running solely on an urban or Black Agenda, yet Galloway somewhat boldly has published an Opportunity Agenda for Black Missourians. It calls for executive and legislative bans on discrimination in Missouri. It mandates that 20% of the state’s Small Business Grants and other entrepreneurial investments go to minority-owned businesses, as well as for the formation of a state Department of Minority Business that will administer these investments. And it calls for an expansion of the pre-kindergarten grant program to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline from the beginning. She also would end the practice of asking job applicants about their criminal history.
Her Black Agenda also takes up the crucial issue of police reform. She calls for a statewide ban on chokeholds and the like, mandates for the use and activation of body cameras, limits on no-knock warrants in drug-related cases, and subpoena power for civilian oversight boards. She calls for an overhaul of the moribund Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Program that has allowed abuse of police power to continue unchecked in Missouri, with abusive officers drifting from department to department while keeping their licenses to abuse and kill with impunity. Importantly, this would include the creation of an independent statewide Civil Rights Accountability Board with subpoena power to investigate and refer for prosecution violations of POST standards.
Even voters less focused on empowering Black people and protecting Black lives should embrace Galloway over the bumbling incumbent, who said the public does not “need government to tell them to wear a dang mask,” and then both he and his wife contracted COVID-19. Galloway’s record of protecting taxpayers and exposing fraud and her approach towards effective government – including wearing a mask in public and practicing social distancing as basic public health precautions that Parson foolishly flouted – offers the type of leadership we need in a governor.
Even before this global pandemic that is killing Black Missourians at a rate that is significantly higher than white Missourians, Parson kicked 100,000 kids off their state health insurance coverage, giving Missouri national headlines for endangering the health and welfare of children. Roughly a quarter-million working Missourians were already lacking health insurance, working jobs that don’t provide it, but earning too much to qualify for Medicaid.
Because of challenges to health care access and affordability, Galloway supports Medicaid expansion. Parson does not. In August, voters had their say, but it matters dearly who is sitting in the governor’s office when it comes time to implement the program. And Parson’s support for overturning Clean Missouri by endorsing the reactionary Amendment 3 is a clear indication that he will not respect the will of voters. Having both a governor and a legislative majority aligned with a party willing to brazenly undo a ballot initiative passed by 60% of the voters shows the dangerous consequences of Republicans’ absolute political dominance in Jefferson City.
Galloway has been vocal on calling out disparaging voter suppression tactics that target Black voters, particularly the requirement that absentee voters get their ballot notarized. She also outlined a plan to make it easier for Missourians to actualize change through the ballot, with expanded vote-by-mail, early voting, and automatic voter registration. Unlike previous gubernatorial campaign we have witnessed in Missouri, Galloway not only says that “Black lives matter,” but has committed to a policy agenda that affirms it. We strongly endorse NICOLE GALLOWAY FOR MISSOURI GOVERNOR.