As voters prepare to elect his successor on Nov. 8, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon reflected on his own time in the governor’s mansion, and 30 years in elective office, during an event in Columbia on Friday.

This year marks the first time since 1986 that Nixon, 60, hasn’t appearing on a ballot, something he calls “liberating.”

On election night, his political future no longer hangs in the balance. Instead, he said he planned to vote, visit a few schools and spend the evening in Jefferson City making congratulatory or conciliatory calls to candidates on both sides.

Nixon, a term-limited Democrat, was first elected to the state Senate in 1986, representing Jefferson County. He served as Missouri attorney general from 1993 to 2009, having been elected governor in 2008.

“I’ve served in all three branches of government, I’ve gotten more votes than anyone has gotten in the history of our state,” Nixon reflected. “I’ve had the chance to serve eight years as the chief executive of the state, only the fourth person in history of our state to get consecutive terms as governor.”

Still, amidst the nostalgia, Nixon admitted he’s looking forward to speaking more freely.

“(It’s) somewhat of a relief that I should get the entirety of my first amendment rights back in early 2017,” he joked.

Nixon told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in September that it’s unlikely he’ll ever run for elective office again, despite the “A Better Missouri With Governor Jay Nixon” 2020 campaign committee that remains active, according to the Missouri Ethics Commission.

He said Friday that that’s still the case. He doesn’t plan to keep the committee active beyond the first quarter of next year.

“I think that once you’ve been governor of a state, as far as running for office, there’s really nothing else in the state that would, for me at least, would interest me,” Nixon said. “I think it’s time to move on, back into the private sector.”

Earlier this year, Nixon and his wife purchased a house in University City. He’s kept his law license. And while dismissive of elective office and lobbying as possible next steps, so far, Nixon hasn’t ruled out a possibility of a role in a Hillary Clinton administration. One of his top aides left in July to work on Clinton’s campaign.

He also doesn’t plan to disappear come January.

“I just enjoy speaking for our state, and that will come to a close formally, but it won’t come to a close informally,” Nixon said. “I feel very strongly about a lot of the things I’ve worked on and I will continue to press those issues.”

One of those issues – Missouri’s State Parks – Nixon highlighted Friday, announcing that a 47-mile long Rock Island section of the Katy Trail will be scheduled to open in December, which will enable hikers and bicyclists to travel from St. Louis to Kansas City on the trail.

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