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Politically Speaking: Rep. Haefner on why Greitens should step down — and the legislature’s reaction

Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Rep. Marsha Haefner, R-Oakville

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Marsha Haefner to the program.

The Oakville Republican has served in the Missouri House for close to eight years. She is a member of the House Budget Committee and the chairwoman of the House Fiscal Review Committee.

Haefner made news last week when she and state Rep. Kathie Conway, R-St. Charles, became the first Republican House members to call for Gov. Eric Greitens to resign. Greitens admitted this month that he had an extramarital affair before he was governor, but denied allegations he took a photo of a woman to keep the infidelity a secret. He reiterated to the Associated Press this weekend that he will not be stepping down.

In her statement, Haefner said: “Eric Greitens was elected governor based on campaign promises of ethics, transparency, family values and ridding our state of  ‘corrupt politicians’ who stood in the way of moving Missouri forward. He’s attacked good people to elevate his status while taking credit for the work of others. And now we’re faced with this embarrassing situation.”

Here’s what Haefner had to say during the show:

  • The controversy over Greitens is becoming a major distraction for the legislature to do its work. “Until we get the right answers, I don’t know how we move forward,” she said.
  • The response to her statement was largely positive. But she also added she’s had “some very disturbing phone calls and recordings [that] I wouldn’t say are threats, but pretty close to it.” Tthose messages were anonymous, she said.
  • If Greitens does decide to resign, GOP Lt. Gov. Mike Parson would become governor. Haefner said “there’s a greater level of predictability with Lt. Gov. Parson, because many of us have worked with him and know his style of leadership.”
  • While Haefner said she philosophically supports lowering taxes, she also said that lawmakers need to be mindful of how any proposal affects the state’s ability to fund state services. “The people that are in front of the tax cut issues are not the people that sit day and night trying to craft a budget every year,” she said. “We’re going to have to be honest about tax cuts in that if we cut certain taxes, other taxes are going to have to go up.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Marsha Haefner on Twitter: @marshahaefner

Music: “Blow Out” by Radiohead

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.