An examination of John Ashcroft's record as Governor and Attorney General of the state of Missouri.
This is the second part of a two-part report examining John Ashcroft's record as an elected official. People For the American Way has undertaken this examination in response to his nomination to be Attorney General of the United States, one of the most important public officials in our nation, a person who has enormous power and influence over the lives of all Americans.
As Governor, Ashcroft staunchly opposed efforts to require church-run day care centers to meet even minimal health and safety regulations such as state fire codes and health requirements. Missouri was the only state that exempted them completely from those regulations. His opposition raises serious concerns not only about his preferential treatment of religious institutions, but also about how he, as attorney general, would interpret and implement so-called "charitable choice" laws.
Ashcroft frequently used his veto to balance the state budget or otherwise reject legislation in a way that increased the burden on those least able to bear it. For example, on July 13, 1990, Ashcroft vetoed a bill that would have provided eight weeks of unpaid leave to new birth and adoptive mothers. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch condemned Ashcroft’s veto in an editorial: "The veto of this bill pitted the welfare of business against the welfare of the family - and the family lost.