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Your Opinion: Governor has role to play when disasters occur

Your Opinion: Governor has role to play when disasters occur

May 5th, 2013 by Edward Gray, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Your Associated Press article that State Auditor Schweich faults SEMA for paying for Nixon flights needs some clarification.

As a 25-year veteran of SEMA (now retired), I can personally tell your readers that it is very important for the governor to be seen at disaster sites throughout the state.

It is the governor's office that makes the initial declaration that releases services of the state to assist local authorities when they are overwhelmed. It is the governor's signature that goes on the letter to the president that gets a national declaration declared for any emergency. It is in the governor's best interest to reassure the disaster victims that they are not forgotten and to remind the bureaucrats that they need to move with all dispatch to help the citizens.

Not only is the governor the "responder-in-chief', but he also has the power to activate the National Guard, through the adjutant general.

Gov. Nixon, like his predecessor, should be allowed the greatest flexibility to respond, it is in the best interest of the state.