Southeast Missouri State University student publication

From one Missouri constituent to her governor: you're not who I thought I voted for, please stop working for me

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Rachael Long

You may have heard the name Eric Greitens come up recently in the news (if not, a quick internet search will do the trick).

He’s the governor of Missouri, elected on family values and an outsider’s perspective. He’s a former Navy SEAL, a humanitarian, a philanthropist, an author, a founder of the nonprofit “The Mission Continues” to benefit veterans coming home from war, a father of two and a husband. He’s got the family-man portrait down to a science.

Or so he did.

That was the version of Greitens the world knew at the start of this year. But he has since been publicly accused of sexual misconduct following his own acknowledgement of a scandalous affair, one you can read about in the pages of this publication.

In the wake of a report published by a special investigative committee in the Missouri House of Representatives, Greitens’ alleged sexual misconduct takes an ugly form. Explicitly detailed accounts of non-consensual oral sex and pictures used to exploit and blackmail the witness line the pages of that report. Nothing is left out.

Nothing, that is, except Greitens’ own testimony.

He waived his right to testify before the committee and called the investigation itself a “witch hunt.” He said he’d rather wait for the legal trial to take place, one he believes will absolve him of all allegations.

He calls the affair a “mistake” and denies all accusations of misconduct, violence or blackmail, portraying it all simply a lapse in judgement.

So if justice has yet to be served and all testimony is one-sided, why am I writing about it? How does Greitens’ personal life affect me or any of his constituents? There’s one irrefutably clear reason why this “mistake” is my business.

He refuses to resign.

The scandal required our Missouri legislators to create a committee tasked with looking into Greitens’ alleged misconduct, a service that has taken our time, money and ability to pass important legislation.

Right now, there are bills stuck in the House that deal with issues such as defunding Planned Parenthood, terminating the Environmental Protection Agency, an act to repeal ObamaCare and an act of reciprocity for concealed carry, to name a few. Legislation that can and will directly affect Missourians sits untouched, unable to pass through the House during such turbulent and uncertain times at the Missouri Capitol.

Legislators from across the aisle are calling for Greitens’ resignation. So are some of his largest donors. Still, he refuses to step down.

House Minority Leader Gail McCann Beatty said the only legislation she believes will pass the house floor from this legislative session is the budget. And only because it is a constitutionally required for them to do so.

At the press conference immediately following the release of the investigative committee’s report, Beatty said she believes it would be irresponsible to pass any legislation outside the budget in such a turbulent legislative session.

Since he came into office, Greitens has been making an enemy out of me. A secret I don’t widely share: I voted for him in the 2016 election.

I didn’t agree with many of his main criticisms of our state leadership or stance on political issues, but I knew I liked the man he was. I thought I liked the man he was.

Boy, do I feel duped.

He began making major cuts to higher education last year that have my university reeling. We have watched faculty and staff lose jobs, entire departments disappear or be merged and student fees rise in response to those cuts.

Even then, Greitens was doing what he thought was right for the state. While I may have disagreed with his processes, I could at least try to respect his intentions.

But now, the person I thought I voted for— the one who made the tough decisions for the state, for his family, for his fellow human— that man is gone. In his place is someone who cares more about his reputation than his state. More about his own selfish desires than the integrity of his legislature.

He’s halted legislation. He’s tried to turn the people against their House leaders, and now he’s tarnished a legacy he built for himself and his family.

He’s kicking, screaming and taking the whole state down with him.

And that’s just what we can prove.

From one Missouri constituent to her governor, a man she voted for and used to admire: please stop working for me.