Former Navy SEAL becomes first Jewish governor of Missouri
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Election 2016

Former Navy SEAL becomes first Jewish governor of Missouri

Eric Greitens

Eric Greitens (Courtesy of Rubenstein Public Relations)

(JTA) — Eric Greitens, a former Navy SEAL whose military awards include the Bronze Star, has become the first Jewish governor of Missouri.

Greitens, a Republican, defeated Democrat Chris Koster with 51 percent of the vote on Tuesday to 45 percent for the state’s attorney general.

“Tonight, we did more than win an election; we restored power to the people and we took our state back!” Greitens told supporters at a hotel in Chesterfield, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Greitens, 42, grew up in the Maryland Heights suburb of St. Louis and attended the town’s Reform synagogue. He attended Duke University, where he become a Rhodes scholar.

After earning a degree at the University of Oxford, he joined the Navy SEALS and won seven military awards, including the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. He later launched The Mission Continues, a nonprofit that offers veterans volunteer opportunities.

The Post-Dispatch reported that Greitens is likely to make Missouri a “right-to-work” state by decreasing the power of its unions. A key tenet of his campaign was promising to “clean up” corruption and “bad ethics” in Jefferson City, the state’s capital.

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