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Gov. Wilson gets unexpected help

October 23, 2000
By: John Sheridan
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - This past week Democrats have vowed to "not let the fire go out", and in new Gov. Roger Wilson's office, the fire has come from an unexpectedly qualified source.

Rep. Chuck Graham D-Columbia, is running for reelection, but this past week he has been busy with "other duties assigned."

That is how Graham describes his responsibilties since the death of Gov. Mel Carnahan, Monday, Oct. 17.

Graham offered to help Lt. Gov. Roger Wilson the morning following the annoucement of Carnahan's death, after Wilson had become acting voernor.

He said it was important for someone from Wilson's home district to be in the lieutenant governor's office just after Carnahan's death.

He added his goal was to make it as comfortable as possible for Wilson, and since he is a state representative he would know what calls were important and what calls could wait.

His initial responsibilities included tracking down Fulton county circuit Judge Gene Hamilton, a longtime friend of Wilson who swore Wilson in as governor early Wednesday morning. Graham said it was no easy task to track down Hamilton.

"I called his office I called his cell, I even called the police," Graham said.

Since Carnahan's death, Graham's other duties include what he calls, "temping," in the lieutenant governor's office.

This past week he has been working out of the lieutenant governor's office answering phones and passing out messages.

He is also assisting Wilson's staff move upstairs to the governor's office.

Graham said he is not concerned that election day is only two weeks away, and that he is assisting Wilson more than he is campaigning.

He says he is not airing any radio or television advertisements, instead he is relying on direct mailings to gain exposure.

Graham said he is still attending to the important campaign events, but that thankfully most campaign events are held at night.