Upon reaching the summit of the artificial green rock wall, the climber descended to the ground to field questions from the Kansas City news media waiting below.
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, whose first year in office has been marked by feats of strength, on Wednesday rolled out a new policy proposal meant to help military veterans at a rock-climbing gym in Kansas City.
“I am proud to announce that this January we’re going to be pursuing legislation to eliminate all start-up business fees for veterans in the state of Missouri,” Greitens said as he stood beside Andrew Potter, a 30-year-old Army veteran who served three tours in Afghanistan.
Potter founded RoKC, a climbing gym in Kansas City, last year.
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“When guys like Andrew come home we want to make this easy for them to come back home and start a new business,” Greitens said. “We also want to let veterans around the country know that if they’re an entrepreneur. … We will welcome them right here in Missouri to start that business.”
Greitens ascended and descended the walls at the gym a few times as Potter shouted words of encouragement while TV news cameras filmed Greitens’ latest physical challenge. Greitens went out to do CrossFit training after taking reporters’ questions.
Greitens’ critics have often mocked his propensity for photo opportunities. State Rep. Crystal Quade, a Springfield Democrat, joked Wednesday on Twitter about going spelunking for her next press conference.
The governor, a retired Navy SEAL, has previously trained with the state’s National Guardsmen and competed in a SWAT team obstacle challenge. Last month he rappelled into a bull-riding event.
“The answer is that I’m trying to bring Sam Brownback out to the gym to do some climbing,” Greitens said in reference to Kansas’ governor when asked about his predilection for physical challenges.
“Look, this is fun. It’s a good time. And I think it’s important that people know we are out there every day fighting for the people of Missouri … and we’re having fun while we’re doing it,” Greitens said. “And if I can bring attention to the great work that Andrew and his team are doing at the rock climbing gym… I’m happy to do it.”
Greitens, who will be up for re-election in 2020, was to hold a campaign fundraiser at the InterContinental Hotel Wednesday evening.
The event is hosted by Missouri Republican chair Todd Graves and several prominent businessmen, including Stan Herzog, a Republican mega donor from St. Joseph who gave Greitens’ campaign $650,000 last year.
An invitation for the event, which was obtained by The Star, also lists Brownback’s former chief of staff, David Kensinger, as one of the co-hosts.
Jason Hancock of The Star contributed to this report.