Nixon searches for words during impromptu news conference

Children from Lawson Elementary School helped Gov. Jay Nixon and first lady Georganne Nixon trim a Christmas tree Friday at the Capitol. Afterward, Nixon spoke on several topics.

Children from Lawson Elementary School helped Gov. Jay Nixon and first lady Georganne Nixon trim a Christmas tree Friday at the Capitol. Afterward, Nixon spoke on several topics. Photo by Stephen Brooks.

Jay Nixon is a lawyer. And lawyers sometimes pause to use just the right word when answering a question.

But reporters who met with Nixon in Jefferson City on Friday morning, after a tree-trimming ceremony with Lawson School students, couldn’t remember a time when the governor stopped so long to choose his words.

He paused about 15 seconds while answering a question about this week’s hearings on Mamtek, the company that promised to build an artificial sweetener plant in Moberly but failed to make a bond payment this summer.

Some have suggested Nixon and the Economic Development department failed to investigate the company before backing the plan.

Finally, he said: “A lot of business deals don’t make it to the finish line. ...

“I think it’s very, very important for (us) to use taxpayer dollars wisely (and to be) focused on trying to create jobs.”

Nixon also said he’s not ready to endorse Transportation Director Kevin Keith’s proposal to rebuild Interstate 70 as a toll road.

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