For those who have dealt with Sen. Gary Nodler, R-Joplin, for years, it is no secret that he will always go the extra mile to punish someone who has slighted him in any way.
That was obvious from his unsuccessful attempt during the recently concluded legislative session to pass a bill that would have made it more difficult for independent candidates to run for office. There was no crying need for that bill, in fact, there was no need for it at all, but since Nodler was inconvenienced during 2006 by Kim Wright's independent campaign, Nodler was determined to punish any and all independent candidates.
He also made his contempt for the schools who dared file a lawsuit against the state's foundation formula by advocating legislation that would have punished students, rather than schools when parents fail to raise the tax levy to a point that Nodler deemed appropriate.
And then there was MOHELA. Nodler made it a point of punishing senators Chuck Graham, D-Columbia, and Jolie Justus, D-Kansas City, by making sure pet projects in their districts were not funded because Graham and Justis did not see things Nodler's way.
Now, as Nodler moves into a new position as Senate Budget Committee Chairman, he has made it clear during an interview with the Columbia Tribune, that Graham had better play ball with him, or Nodler is perfectly willing to take it out on Graham's constituents. In other words, it's politics as usual for Gary Nodler.
That is addressed in an editorial written by Tribune Editor Hank Waters:
Nodler has found a handy way to put Graham in a box. Buoyed by an angry bloc of his constituents who think Graham should have gone along with the restrictions to get the money, Nodler keeps turning the screw, obviously more interested in hurting Graham than helping the university.
In fact, Nodler’s stance illustrates a disturbing trend in today’s state leadership. That the legislature would even consider imposing such restrictions on its state university demonstrates to the world a serious official mentality potentially more damaging to economic development than the loss of any momentary appropriations project. Already, university officials are noticing reluctance among the best researchers and others to come here, not knowing what crusading legislators might do next.
If Nodler & Co. want to do the most for economic development in the state, which they continually allege, they will restore the status of the state university. They will free and fund the institution.