We finished a primary election last week that, among other things, now pits incumbent Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder — a Republican — against Democratic former state auditor Susan Montee in the November election.
These two powerful Missouri politicians will face off for what may be the most meaningless office in the state — particularly now, when Kinder is serving as lieutenant governor and the governor of Missouri, Jay Nixon, is a Democrat.
As Kinder's website notes, the lieutenant governor "is elected separately from the governor and each can be a member of different political parties. Missouri's Constitution provides that the lieutenant governor assumes the powers and duties of the governor when the governor is absent from the state or unable to serve."
(For what it's worth, that hasn't kept Nixon chained to the state. He's taken at least seven out-of-state trips that I could find: at least two overseas trade missions and several trips to the Washington DC area.)
In fairness, the lieutenant governor also presides over the Missouri senate, where he can cast tie-breaking votes and debate issues when the senate meets as a committee of the whole.
If you check the list of accomplishments on Kinder's website, you might note that for the most part, the things Kinder cites occurred in his first term — under Republican Gov. Matt Blunt.
For that, we are paying an annual budget of $407,557 for the lieutenant governor's office, which Kinder touted as a 10 percent decrease from when he started this term in 2009. We paid Kinder a salary of $86,484 in fiscal 2011.
Would you support getting rid of the Missouri lieutenant governor's position? If so, why? Would it be better to amend the Missouri Constitution so the governor and his lieutenant run together as a unified ticket, as the U.S. president and vice president do? Or do you think the current arrangement is just fine? If so, why?