Jo Mannies

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter.  She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

Former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch is pledging to accept no campaign donations for his Republican campaign for St. Louis County Council. And if elected this fall, he says he’ll work for a county charter change that would limit campaign donations for county officials.

At his campaign kickoff today in Sunset Hills, Fitch blamed the lack of donation limits for some of the rancor between council members and County Executive Steve Stenger.  He contends that large contributions to Stenger, in particular, have exacerbated some of the disputes.

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies welcomes St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas on the program for the first time.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is continuing his pace as one of  Missouri’s top money-raisers among the non-congressional candidates, but Democratic rival Mark Mantovani appears to be edging up fast.

Stenger’s latest campaign-finance report, filed Tuesday, shows that he raised almost $520,000 during the past three months for his re-election bid later this year.  

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens, a Republican, raised more money during that same period. Greitens collected close to $630,000 and reported almost $2.8 million in his state campaign committee.

Almost 50 years after Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, the key focus of area civil rights leaders is to keep the national leader’s legacy — and message — alive for a new generation.

Which helps explain why state Rep. Bruce Franks, D-St. Louis, sought to rev up Monday’s annual event at the Old Courthouse to mark King’s birthday. Amid all the songs and speeches, Franks focused on the importance of action.

Amid a sex scandal that threatens his political future, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has canceled plans to hold an event Tuesday in St. Peters to promote his tax-cut proposal.

 

Greitens was scheduled to appear at Arrowhead Building Supply, which provides building materials to contractors.

Updated January 11 at 4:20 p.m. with Gardner investigation —  Missouri House and Senate Republican leaders issued almost identical statements of concern Thursday as they otherwise declined comment on the sex scandal swirling around Gov. Eric Greitens.

Using the bad weather as an excuse, most lawmakers fled the state Capitol, and both chambers adjourned swiftly until next Tuesday.

However, a bipartisan group of senators – all frequent critics of the governor – announced they were sending a letter asking state Attorney General Josh Hawley to investigate the matter.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens used his State of the State address Wednesday to announce a proposal to cut state taxes this year, even as the state budget is still adjusting to earlier state and federal tax cuts that are just now going into effect.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Colleen Wasinger, a Republican from Huntleigh, is giving serious thought to challenging County Executive Steve Stenger this year.

She will have to make a decision soon. Candidate filing begins Feb. 27 and lasts only a month.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is slashing the County Council’s plan to increase its own spending, in apparent retaliation for how the council cut the budgets for most county departments.

Stenger’s executive order, issued Wednesday, adds fuel to his ongoing fight with the council — especially chairman Sam Page, a fellow Democrat — on various issues.

With the federal tax overhaul now law, Missouri’s political candidates in both parties are highlighting their support or opposition to the measure as they try to appeal to voters as the 2018 campaign cycle gets underway.

State Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, is particularly aggressive in using the tax law for his initial attacks against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill.

Heightened tensions between Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and fellow Republicans who control the General Assembly will likely add drama when the 2018 legislative session begins next Wednesday.

Because 2018 is an election year, it’s long been assumed that lawmakers will avoid divisive topics that could upset voters. But that might not be possible this time.

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt has at least two predictions heading into 2018:

The Missouri Republican expects the public will warm up to the new federal tax overhaul as more see fatter paychecks in the coming months. And he also believes that the GOP will avoid dealing with the nation’s popular entitlement programs –Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security – until Democrats gain more political power.

Missouri’s closely watched U.S. Senate contest may be 11 months away, but a flood of outside groups already are jumping in to aid or oppose Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill or her best-known GOP rival, state Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Most of these groups do not have to identify their donors or can delay that reporting until well into 2018.  And many plan to concentrate their activities on social media platforms such as Facebook -- not television.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is looking into whether Gov. Eric Greitens’ administration may be violating the state’s Sunshine Law.

It’s in response to a Kansas City Star report that the Republican governor and his staff use a phone application that automatically deletes text messages.

The St. Louis County Council’s decision to draw up and approve its own budget ends a longstanding practice of allowing the county executive’s administration to craft a spending blueprint.

The big question now is what will happen next.

The St. Louis County Council has slashed $31 million dollars from County Executive Steve Stenger's 2018 budget proposal, a move rarely seen in the region’s largest jurisdiction.

Stenger was caught off-guard when he learned of the council’s plans shortly before it convened Tuesday night. Soon after, the seven members voted 6 - 1 to approve Council Chairman Sam Page's substitute budget. 

Updated Tuesday, Dec. 12: With the Missouri General Assembly slated to convene in a few weeks, the Municipal League of Metro St. Louis is scrambling in case state lawmakers decide to intervene in the region’s long-standing debate over a possible merger of St. Louis and St. Louis County.

The St. Louis County Council voted unanimously Tuesday night in favor of a resolution -- signed by at least 50 area municipalities -- that opposes any sort of  statewide vote on the matter. The St. Louis Board of Aldermen could face a similar request shortly.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is calling for the Missouri Veterans Commission – which he has reconfigured with five new members – to meet this week and fire the panel’s executive director and the head of a state veterans home in north St. Louis County.

At a news conference Monday outside the facility, Greitens said he also is ordering an examination of all state veterans homes in the wake of an independent study by a private health care firm that determined a “substandard quality of care’’ at the 300-bed St. Louis Veterans Home in Bellefontaine Neighbors.

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch blames “political vindictiveness’’ for the County Council’s decision to get rid of a pension increase for his job that it had approved last year.

Council Chairman Sam Page says the issue is fairness.


 

As President Donald Trump makes a pitch Wednesday for a federal tax overhaul, he plans to cast the city of St. Charles as an example of the “Main Street economy’’ he wants to help flourish across the country.

That’s the word from senior White House officials, who briefed regional reporters ahead of time on Trump’s key topics during an address Wednesday afternoon at the St. Charles Convention Center.

President Donald Trump will promote federal tax cuts on Wednesday during an afternoon event at the St. Charles Convention Center.

This will be his first visit to the St. Louis area – and his second to Missouri — since taking office almost a year ago.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens cast a key vote Friday to block state spending for its low-income housing tax credit program, saying such development efforts “sound nice, but don’t get results.”

The Republican governor is among the state officials who sit on the Missouri Housing Development Commission, which oversees construction projects that receive state assistance, primarily through state tax credits.

Less than two weeks after U.S. Sen. Al Franken headlined the Missouri Democratic Party’s biggest event of the year, the Minnesota Democrat is back in the news over a groping allegation that is stirring up the state’s U.S. Senate race.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo. and a longtime friend of Franken’s, announced Thursday that Missouri food banks will be getting $30,000 from her – representing the campaign aid she has received from Franken’s political action committee since 2006.

UPDATED Thursday, Nov. 16, with U.S. House vote:

Top Missouri and Illinois officials in both parties are becoming increasingly active in the fight over proposed federal tax cuts, which now have a health care component.

Missouri’s two U.S. senators – Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Roy Blunt – illustrate the opposing sides. He’s for the latest version of the bill, while she’s against it.

The U.S. House version passed Thursday, with Rep. Ann Wagner of Ballwin among all six Missouri Republicans voting for it.  The state's two Democrats -- Lacy Clay of St. Louis and Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City -- opposed the bill.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is pledging that “county government will not increase taxes or cut services,’’ and accuses St. Louis County Council Chairman Sam Page of inaccurately asserting otherwise.

At issue is Stenger’s proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins Jan. 1. Although it is a proposed balanced budget for 2018, Page is pointing to projections in the budget document that indicate the 2019 budget might face a deficit of $18 million.

Nearing the end of his seventh term, St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch says he plans to seek an eighth one next year because he says he still has unfinished business.

“I truly enjoy the work,” McCulloch told St. Louis Public Radio.

This will be McCulloch’s first time on the ballot since a grand jury he oversaw in 2014 declined to indict a Ferguson police officer for killing a black man. That episode touched off sharp criticism from protesters who had sought more police accountability.

A diverse crowd of Democrats packed a recent party meeting in Richmond Heights to hear from state Rep. Bruce Franks, a St. Louis Democrat who’s become a prominent voice for police accountability amid protests throughout the St. Louis region.

You could hear a pin drop when Franks bluntly asked his audience, “Can somebody tell me how black folks are supposed to vote for Claire McCaskill?”

With jokes and jabs, some of Missouri’s top Democrats are seeking to rally supporters dreaming of a better political future in 2018  — especially compared to the nightmare defeats the party suffered almost a year ago.

At Saturday night’s Truman Dinner, the state party’s biggest event of the year, most of the best jokes came from Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a Saturday Night Live alum who’s now a national Democratic figure.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has sent a scathing letter to the state’s two U.S. senators – including fellow Republican Roy Blunt – that accuses them of ignoring problems at the state-run St. Louis Veterans Home and trying to shift the responsibility to him.

In the letter, sent Thursday, Greitens appeared to take offense at an earlier letter that Blunt and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill had jointly sent to him this week asking for an investigation into accusations of patient mistreatment.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner is dismissing any talk about fellow Republicans firing special prosecutor Bob Mueller, who has charged three former campaign aides to President Donald Trump.

“We’re going to let special prosecutor Mueller and the Justice Department do their work,” said Wagner, R-Ballwin, in an interview. “I’ve got work to do here in the 2nd district and in Congress. Everybody should do their job.”

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