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Will Greitens' portrait ever hang in the hallowed halls of the Missouri Capitol?

Jack Suntrup, St. Louis Post-Dispatch on

Published in News & Features

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- In the Missouri Capitol, paintings of the state's former governors hang in a Missouri State Museum exhibit on the ground floor. Children shuffle past them, looking up at the men who have led the state. (Yes, they've all been men). Visitors snap photographs as legislators and lobbyists breeze past the portraits.

Meriwether Lewis and William Clark -- who served separate stints as governor of the Louisiana Territory after leading their famous expedition to the Pacific Ocean -- have their likenesses affixed to the Capitol's walls. A painting of former Gov. Warren E. Hearnes, who in the 1960s worked to outlaw racial discrimination, hangs near portraits of more recent governors such as Christopher "Kit" Bond, John Ashcroft and Jay Nixon.

The image of former Gov. Eric Greitens is not among them.

Will Greitens, who resigned in June after being accused of sexual coercion and campaign finance violations, one day commission a painting of himself to hang alongside his predecessors?

The answer isn't clear.

Greitens hasn't been seen or heard from in the Capitol since his abrupt resignation on June 1. No one returned a call this week placed to a phone number listed for him. A phone number for his campaign treasurer, Jeff Stuerman, is not in service.

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Spokeswomen with the Missouri secretary of state's office and the state Office of Administration said they were not aware of any planned portraits. Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, a Joplin Republican who has overseen Capitol improvements, also said he did not know about any plans for a Greitens portrait.

In neighboring Illinois, after former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was arrested on corruption charges and removed from office, legislators there approved a measure banning taxpayer funds from being used on a portrait of the ex-governor.

"I have no desire nor intent to revise history," the law's sponsor, GOP Rep. Bill Black said during floor debate. "I also have no desire nor intent to see to it that someone who is impeached and convicted ... gets into the taxpayers' purse for anything."

In Missouri, taxpayers don't pay for portraits of ex-governors, according to a 2011 article in Missouri Life magazine. The magazine said private money has paid for portraits of modern governors.


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