Best Local Boy Gone Bad

Rod Jetton

For a decade, Rod Jetton's political career was rising as fast and carefree as a cloud of helium. Then, last December, pop! A police report sent the former Missouri House speaker plummeting back to Earth and made both Jetton and the term "green balloons" running jokes in state politics. Elected to the Missouri House in 2000, Jetton was just 37 when his GOP colleagues elected him speaker five years later. In short time, Jetton would become one of the most powerful Republicans in all of Missouri. Jetton's influence seemed to increase when he was term-limited out of office in 2009, rolled up his sleeves and concentrated full-time on his political consulting business. Then last December word leaked out that Jetton had been named in a police complaint for allegedly beating a woman after she failed to say the safe words of "green balloons" during a night of sadomasochistic sex. A few months later, Jetton faced further embarrassment when it was revealed that he was being investigated for a "pay to play" scandal during his time as speaker of the House. In a February interview, Jetton told the Post-Dispatch, "I got an application in to drive a garbage truck, and I got turned down to sell appliances. I've got no reputation. I have no money. I've got nothing."

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