After all the misery that northwest Missourians have gone through this year with the Missouri River flood and all the misery that people in other states along the great river went through, wouldn’t you think that the governors of those states wouldn’t want to keep secrets about their discussions of avoiding future floods? If you were a flood victim, wouldn’t you appreciate knowing what the governors of the Missouri River states were saying about the future of your town, your farm, your roads and bridges, your home?
Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer thought so. Governor Nixon and the governors of the other states thought not. And the chummy news conference in Omaha held Monday by the governors who attended a governors meeting about future flooding gave no indication that there had been differences of opinion during the discussion.
Reporters were not allowed to attend the second discussion in Omaha called by Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman. Apparently these discussions are so important that the press is not allowed to pass along information about the discussions to the real people who are affected by Missouri River flooding. God knows what real people might do if they heard their governors talking about future water on their farms, homes, towns, and roads.
Montana’s governor and our governor were part of the discussion by telephone. They couldn’t be in Omaha in person.
Because Governor Schweitzer of Montana decided these discussions were too important to be restricted to good ole Missouri Basin boys, we know that things are not all sweetness and light among chief executives of the Missouri River states.
Schwetizer invited reporters into his office during the call. The Associated Press reported after the meeting that things got pretty heated between the governor of Montana and governors downstream. Heineman was heard saying Schweitzer was “just looking for a fight and jsut making some noise” after Schweitzer raised concerns about the focus on flood control as the purpose for upstream reservoirs.
In the news conference afterward, the governors who met in person in Omaha assured listeners that there was unanimity on the issue of flood control.
Unanimity, apparently, except for Schweitzer. But we never would have known that if Schweitzer had not allowed reporters to listen to the discussions that the governors held about the futures of thousands of people who live along the river. And we don’t really know how deep the unanimity is because reporters were not allowed to cover the discussions in any other states. As far as we know, Governor Nixon did not invite any reporters to listen to the conversations as Schwetizer did. So we don’t know what, if anything, he said or advocated, or disdained, or agreed to.
Apparently this stuff if just too complicated for people cleaning the mud out of their homes and towns to hear.
Governors know best. And it’s best that muddy Missourians and other people of the Missouri River not hear them talk about it.
Except in Montana.
Thanks, Governor Schweitzer.