SEMO grad and St. Louis native nominated as next Marine commandant

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Lt. Gen. James Conway has been nominated to be the next commandant of the Marine Corps.

Conway is a St. Louis native who graduated from Roosevelt High School and Southeast Missouri State University. He now serves as the director of operations for the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Before taking the Pentagon post, Conway commanded the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force for two combat tours in Iraq.

His nomination was announced recently. He will succeed Gen. Michael Hagee, who is wrapping up visits to personnel in Iraq to reinforce the importance of adhering to Marine Corps standards of behavior.

Hagee is due to complete his four-year tenure as commandant in January.

Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, praised Conway as "a superb officer" and a "true hero for the Unites States."

-- Associated Press

Last week I attended an awards breakfast in St. Louis attended by many members of the St. Louis business community. The 14 public servants (Democrats and Republicans) honored in the St. Louis Business Journal's fifth annual Legislative Awards program handled complicated, high-profile issues during Missouri's legislative session that will have an impact throughout the state -- eminent domain, unemployment compensation and campaign contribution caps. The lieutenant governor, eight state representatives, four state senators and Missouri's economic development director were recognized.

The following are the comments about Cape Girardeau's Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder:

"No longer a State Senator, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder isn't as in-volved in the daily grind of lawmaking.

"That doesn't mean the Cape Girardeau Republican has taken a break from the pro-business agenda he followed in the Missouri Senate," according to Brad Jones, state director of NFIB/Missouri, a small-business advocacy group.

"'I think Peter will always be a business advocate for as long as he's in public life," Jones said.

"Earlier this year, Kinder toured the state in support of Gov. Matt Blunt's proposal to fund life sciences facilities at state universities with proceeds from the sale of loans administered by the state's student loan authority. The proposal failed this past legislative session.

"Last year, Kinder and other members of the governor's State Government Review Commission held public hearings about streamlining state government. The panel issued a report outlining more than 80 recommendations for improving efficiency and service.

"As lieutenant governor, Kinder is ex officio president of the Senate. His official duties also include being the official senior advocate for the state, and he is chairman of the Governor's Advisory Council for Veterans Affairs.

"Kinder was elected lieutenant governor in 2004 after he served eight years in the Senate. He represented Bollinger, Cape Girardeau, Madison, Perry and Scott counties in southeastern Missouri.

"In 1992, the year Kinder was first elected to the Senate, Kirkwood Republican Michael Gibbons won a spot in the House. Today, Gibbons is Senate president pro tem, the leadership position Kinder held when term limits forced him out in 2004.

"'You don't really know fully all the pressures on somebody until you're in their shoes, and I'm in his shoes,' Gibbons said. "And it makes me appreciate the job he did as pro tem." This year's Business Journal legislative Award is the fourth for Kinder, who also was honored as a state senator in 2002, 2003 and 2004. He's the only person ever to receive the award as both a lawmaker and a statewide elected official.'"

-- St. Louis Business Journal

On the campaign trail: Saturday in Poplar Bluff, U.S. Sen. Jim Talent announced his Sportsmen for Talent coalition with supporters who share his belief in the right to keep and bear arms, private property rights and other issues important to Missouri sportsmen. Talent was joined by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, state Rep. Gayle Kingery and area sportsmen who are supporting his campaign for United States Senate.

"We are building coalitions in any way they organize and Missouri sportsmen are critical to our campaign," said Talent, a member of the Congressional Sportsman Caucus. "I believe the right to keep and bear arms is a very important part of the tradition and history of American life. I've been fighting in the Senate to make certain we aggressively prosecute criminals for the illegal use of guns, not law abiding citizens. I've also been fighting to protect Missouri property owners from the overreaching arm of the federal government. Our farmers, ranchers and private landowners are the best stewards of the land, not the federal government."

As Missouri's senator, Talent supports the right-to-carry. He co-sponsored legislation, now law, to protect those who lawfully sell firearms from trial lawyers seeking to hold them accountable for the crimes of others. Talent also supports common sense measures such as allowing off-duty and retired law enforcement officials to carry firearms.

On property rights, Talent believes the Supreme Court was wrong in the recent ruling on eminent domain. He introduced legislation, now law, restricting the use of certain federal funds for projects that use the power of eminent domain for economic development.

Business feels a Republican slight: Business groups around Missouri are not feeling much love for the Republican-controlled legislature after their primary pro-business legislation withered on the vine in the final days of the 2006 session. A motion to adopt the Conference Committee Report for SB 696 was offered three times on May 11-12 -- the last two days of the session -- and three times that motion was withdrawn. SB 696 was a bill that contained a big bunch of goodies for the business lobby.

You think the business lobby is feeling a little like Jesus Christ when he was denied three times by the apostle Peter immediately preceding Christ's imprisonment and ultimate crucifixion? That's probably a little strong and certainly too biblically dramatic, but there are rumors that business and industrial types are more than a little miffed at the Senate Republicans for giving up a little too easily.

After all, when the political bag contains goodies like tax credits for contributors to projects which include community development, education and physical revitalization, big-money suits expect a little blood on the floor before surrender. They got nary a drop of sweat, and it sounds as if more than a few tears are being shed as a result. Also contained in this whale of a bill were increases in the tax increment financing disbursement, downtown economic stimuli treats, increases in the Missouri Rural Economic Stimulus Act funding, removal of limits on the Development Finance Board, increases in small business tax credits, and several other increases and exemptions which gave Big Business visions of sugar-plums. And it all vanished with scarcely a GOP whimper.

-- Sen. Maida Coleman (D-St. Louis), formerly of Sikeston

Bible study: Don't let your worries get the best of you; remember, Moses started out as a basket case.

Some people are kind, polite and sweet-spirited until you try to sit in their pews.

The good Lord didn't create anything without a purpose, but mosquitoes come close.

People are funny; they want the front of the bus, the middle of the road and the back of the church.

Opportunity may knock once, but temptation bangs on your front door forever.

God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called.

God loves everyone, but probably prefers "fruits of the spirit" over "religious nuts!"

God promises a safe landing, not a calm passage.

He who angers you, controls you!

If God is your co-pilot -- swap seats!

Prayer: Don't give God instructions -- just report for duty!

You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage him.

The best mathematical equation I have ever seen: 1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given.

Gary Rust is chairman of Rust Communications.

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