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Business and the Economy

A Journalist Reflects on the Late Gov. Hearnes

Former Governor Warren E. Hearnes will lie in state in the Missouri Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday. He died Sunday night at his home in Charleston, Missouri. KSMU's Jennifer Moore spoke with a journalist who covered Hearnes' administration, and has this report.

One of the few remaining reporters at the state capitol who was around when Hearnes was in the Governor's Mansion is Phil Brooks. Brooks said one thing he will never forget about Hearnes was his accessibility.

He says Hearnes was the most open governor he's ever reported on.

"He was blunt, candid, and direct with reporters," Brooks said. "He was accessible. He gave us his mansion phone number. I used to call him at the mansion for interviews. No governor since has done that."

He also made the budget negotiations public; those are the meetings in which agency directors plead with the governor for more money. Every governor since, Brooks said, has made those sessions closed to the press.

He said Warren Hearnes simply did not have a fear of the press, and Brooks says he has often wondered if that was due, in part, to his military background. Hearnes was a graduate of West Point.

Hearnes was Missouri's 46th governor. The Illinois native is survived by his wife, Betty, and three daughters. He was 86.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.