Sen. Blunt stumps for GOP-backed HEALS Act relief package

Sen. Roy Blunt discusses the HEALS Act on Sunday during a news conference at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin. He noted that the new proposal includes funding to assist hospitals. {&credit}GLOBE | ROGER NOMER

Agree or disagree with him — and we did both — Sen. Roy Blunt was always good to Southwest Missouri, and he received many Globe endorsements through the years, most recently in 2016.

Blunt served nearly a half-century in public office at one level or another. He announced Monday morning he will not seek reelection in 2022.

In his quarter-century in Congress — seven terms as our U.S. representative, two as a U.S. senator — Blunt always fought for this region, and his ability to secure funding on everything from highways to the MARET Center at Crowder College to the visitor center at the Neosho National Fish Hatchery is part of his legacy. And throughout the years we have praised him for his support for national service programs such as AmericCorps, for mental health treatment and funding, for adoption efforts, to name just a few areas where we have found common cause.

Nor will we forget how he was there for Joplin in 2011. In the months following the tornado, Blunt led the fight for disaster aid, including helping get an amendment into the 2012 appropriations bill that added $400 million to the Community Development Block Grant program in order to aid relief and rebuilding efforts. Millions that went to Joplin to help get us back on our feet during that difficult time are because of Blunt.

We always found Blunt personable, accessible and willing to work across the political aisle to help us out. We need more of that.

What we don’t need is former Gov. Eric Greitens, who has been positioning himself as a possible replacement.

Greitens failed Missouri. He does not deserve to represent Republicans in the 2022 contest and certainly not to represent all Missourians in Washington, D.C. His 17 months as governor ended badly in 2018, undone by ethical and personal lapses, and it’s probable he would have been impeached had he not resigned.

Asked recently about running for for a U.S. Senate seat by a St. Louis radio station, Greitens said: “It’s something that I’m certainly going to keep the door open to and take a look at.”

He also was quoted as saying: “As you know, unfortunately Roy Blunt has been out siding with Mitch McConnell. He’s been criticizing the president of the United States over what happened on Jan. 6. He’s been criticizing the president of the United States for not coming to (President) Joe Biden’s inauguration, where obviously everybody in Missouri saw Roy Blunt there.”

We’ll see what the rest of the Republican field looks like, but Republicans need to run a proven leader. That’s not Greitens. They need to run a candidate who supports openness and transparency. That’s not Greitens, either.

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