FESTUS, MO (KTVI) The leading candidates for Missouri governor both attended the University of Missouri's homecoming football game today and cheered on the Tigers. But that's about all they agree on.
Incumbent Democratic Governor Jay Nixon points to the state's 6.9 percent unemployment rate as a major accomplish of his first term in office.
"It's the second largest drop in unemployment of any state in the last years," he told a crowd of supporters at his Main Street Festus campaign office Saturday afternoon.
Republican challenger and St. Louis County businessman Dave Spence insists those numbers aren't the important ones.
"He's failing to mention we took 107,000 people out of the work force to get that number; it's just disingenuous," Spence said.
The governor tells audiences the auto industry is being "reborn" in Missouri. He cites the one billion dollar new Ford plant in Kansas City and the 380 million dollar expansion of the General Motors Wentzville factory as evidence Missouri's economy is advancing.
Spence worries the economy is at a standstill.
"We're dead last in job creation since he's in and we're 48th in economic development for the last ten years, so we do not have a lot of momentum or even a track record of attracting half of Democratic Gov. Bob Holden's administration, all of Republican Governor Matt Blunt's term and Nixon's four years in office."
The two men disagree over whether Missouri would benefit from becoming a 'Right to Work' state by making union dues voluntary. Spence argues the state needs that change to become competitive with surrounding states that enforce Right to Work laws.
"They're growing; we're not," he said.
Nixon praises unions for keeping workman's compensation low due to union training and safety on the job efforts.
"An organized workforce is part of the fabric and history of our state. I don't think taking away the right to work is the way to build the economy of the future," Nixon said.
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