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Politicians Descend On Sedalia For Mo. State Fair

Sedalia was swarming with politicians Thursday, as office holders from both parties descended on the Missouri State Fair.

Nearly a thousand people, politicians and citizens alike, dined on country ham, eggs and peaches at the Governor's Ham Breakfast.  Governor Jay Nixon began his annual speech by condemning the incident in which a rodeo clown wore a President Obama mask this weekend.

"What has always united us is (that) no matter what part of the state you're from, or who you voted for, we treat people with respect," Nixon told the applauding crowd.

After his speech, the Democratic Governor told reporters that he disagrees with some members of his own party who want to cut funding to the State Fair over the incident.

"One action like this is not gonna, in any way, slow down the strong progress and the vital importance that this showcase is for agriculture," Nixon said.  "Especially (cutting funding from the State Fair) would send the wrong signal to young folks."

Nixon also says he doesn't think a federal investigation into the incident is necessary -- the NAACP has asked the Department of Justice to look into what happened.

Meanwhile, two Republican members of Missouri's Congressional delegation were at the State Fair Thursday, calling on Congress to pass a new federal farm bill, instead of extending the farm bill passed in 2008 by another year.  U.S. Senator Roy Blunt and Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler told Missouri Farm Bureau members and the media that the hold-up centers on how much money to spend on food stamps.  The GOP-led U.S. House voted to cut the food stamp program, now known as SNAP, by $20 billion.  The Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate voted to cut food stamps by only $4 billion.  Blunt says he believes there'll be an agreement somewhere in between.

"The farm bill that we had under (former) Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi's leadership is not a farm bill that should be extended for another couple of years, but in fact needs to be replaced with the reforms that are in both the House and the Senate farm bill(s)," Blunt said.

Those reforms include eliminating direct payments to farmers and some other commodity programs.  Blunt says he doesn't think an agreement will be reached before the current one-year extension of the 2008 farm bill expires September 30th.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.