Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Jo Mannies

Political Reporter

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.

Ways to Connect

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s election edition of Politically Speaking looks into the referendum over Missouri’s right-to-work law — and the GOP primary for state auditor.

Besides the U.S. Senate contest, the right-t- work fight and GOP auditor race will be on every Missouri primary ballot on Aug. 7. And both matters could have long-term ramifications for the state’s politics.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Four months before the November election, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is deploying her massive fundraising edge over GOP rival Josh Hawley to dramatically outspend him.

Since April 1, McCaskill has spent close to $3.6 million in her Democratic bid for a third term. That’s almost four times state Attorney General Hawley’s spending, which was just under $1 million.

Missouri state Rep. Gina Mitten
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri state Rep. Gina Mitten returns to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about serving on the committee that investigated former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Richmond Heights Democrat represents Missouri’s 83rd District, which includes portions of St. Louis and eastern St. Louis County. She is running unopposed in 2018 for what will be her last term in the Missouri House.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens walks out of the Civil Courts Building in downtown St. Louis after his felony invasion of privacy charge was dropped. May14, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican chairman of the now-defunct House panel that investigated then-Gov. Eric Greitens has filed a formal complaint with the state Ethics Commission accusing Greitens of running an illegal shadow campaign operation to avoid the state’s campaign-donation laws.

“With the ethics complaint that has been filed based on the work of the House investigative committee, the Missouri Ethics Commission has overwhelming evidence to conclude that Eric Greitens, his campaign committee and affiliated dark-money organization broke state campaign-finance laws,” said Democratic committee members Gina Mitten and Tommie Pierson Jr.

Abortion opponents stand on a street median as Planned Parenthood supporters march past the organization's Central West End clinic February 11, 2017.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

President Donald Trump’s newest nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court simply adds to the latest round of heightened political tensions in Missouri over reproductive rights and abortion.

And, as expected, it’s already become a key issue in the state’s closely watched U.S. Senate race. Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley is making the Supreme Court confirmation the centerpiece of the Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s first TV ad, which began airing Monday.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill answers questions during a town hall at Harris-Stowe State University. Jan. 27, 2018
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies debut a new edition of the show — a weekly roundup of the big issues shaping Missouri’s election cycle.

St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward, in a picture taken June 27, 2018
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies talked with St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward.

Cohn, who grew up in Clayton, represents the Dutchtown, Mount Pleasant and Carondelet neighborhoods in south St. Louis. He was first elected to the Board of Aldermen in 2009 and is in his third term in office.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Although President Donald Trump isn’t expected to announce his Supreme Court nominee until next week, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and her best-known GOP rival are already gearing up for a major fight.

That’s particularly true for the Republican, Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who’s contending that the future of the U.S. Supreme Court – and McCaskill’s past confirmation votes – should be the pivotal issue in their contest.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is joined by members of his staff Friday as he signs budget bills.
Governor's office

Less than a month after taking office, new Gov. Mike Parson is putting his stamp on Missouri’s budget priorities.

And he’s gotten some help from an unexpected flurry of new money into state coffers, says state budget director Dan Haug.

On Friday, Parson signed state budget bills that, among other things, call for $99 million in additional spending for public education compared to the current fiscal year. He also has approved more money for school transportation.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, in a photo taken at St. Louis Public Radio on June 28, 2018
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft – who’s in the midst of a flurry of pre-election activity.

A Republican, Ashcroft was elected during the state’s GOP election landslide of 2016. That year, Missouri voters also approved a photo-ID requirement at the polls.

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas
Alex Heuer I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Councilman Ernie Trakas’ political future is now up to a judge, who will likely rule before the summer ends whether Trakas violated the county charter by doing legal work for school districts.

If the answer is yes, then Trakas – who represents much of south county – would be removed from the council.

St. Charles County Circuit Judge Dan Pelikan held a brief hearing Thursday morning and ordered lawyers for both sides to submit any additional legal arguments within 30 days. Pelikan could then rule at any time, although the lawyers predict it likely will be August at the earliest before he announces his decision.

Supreme Court
Kjetil Ree | Flickr

Labor leaders in Missouri’s public and private sectors say the U.S. Supreme Court’s latest ruling curbing public-employee unions doesn’t appear to have a direct impact in Missouri.

The court ruled 5-4 today that public-employee unions cannot collect fees or dues from workers who decline to join the union. But in Missouri, labor leaders say public-employee unions in the state already must get their members to voluntarily pay dues.

The St. Louis Council at its meeting on June 26, 2018. The empty chair belongs to County Executive Steve Stenger, who has skipped most of the meetings this year.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council is planning to set up a special task force to tackle the region’s opioid problem, and is offering up to $1 million in grants to encourage people to come up with solutions.

In a rare show of solidarity, the council voted unanimously Tuesday in favor of the plan.

The county already has a prescription drug monitoring program. But Councilman Mark Harder, a Republican from Ballwin, said the 11-member task force is a necessary addition.

Former Secretary of State Jason Kander, left, hosts podcast with national AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka on June 23, 2018.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Democrats appear to be banking their political future on linking the state’s fight over a “right to work’’ law, known as Proposition A, to the effort to re-elect Missouri’s last remaining Democrats holding statewide office.

A referendum over Proposition A will be on the August ballot. The two Democrats facing re-election this year – U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state Auditor Nicole Galloway – will go before voters in November.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, addresses a packed audience at Thursday's annual NAACP dinner held June 21, 2018 in downtown St. Louis.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat and rising national star, delivered a two-pronged address in St. Louis on Thursday that appeared to be aimed at elevating her own profile while also boosting fellow Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill.

Both officials were star attractions at the St. Louis County NAACP annual dinner, held at the downtown Four Seasons Hotel.

Many of Harris’ keynote remarks focused on challenges facing like-minded Americans who are upset over various actions by President Donald Trump’s administration.

The St. Louis County Council rejected legislation aimed at regulating rental property in unincorporated St. Louis County.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council’s focus on redevelopment efforts at the old Northwest Plaza site – and its related accusations against County Executive Steve Stenger – are now igniting concerns among St. Ann officials and civic leaders.

St. Ann city administrator Matt Conley was among several who contended that the council’s political fight with Stenger is hurting the city’s efforts to attract businesses to the former shopping center site, which once was a regional magnet for shoppers.

Former St. Louis County police chief at his campaign kickoff for St. Louis County Council
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome former St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch – who’s jumping into the political arena.

Fitch often made headlines in his former job. He didn’t hesitate to go public with some of his concerns, even when it put him at odds with then-County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and her best-known Republican rival, Josh Hawley, agree on one thing: health care — including its rising costs — is a top issue in their race this year.

And they accuse each other of misleading the public on the matter.

Take, for example, insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions such as cancer, diabetes or pregnancy.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, right, examines equipment as Patriot Machines vice president Robert Burns gives him a tour of the plant.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley says he is continuing to investigate former Gov. Eric Greitens for possible wrongdoing.

Hawley said Thursday that his office has two “open investigations” into Greitens, and that he is optimistic new Gov. Mike Parson’s staff will provide help, if needed.

One of the probes is looking into allegations that Greitens and his staff violated the state’s Sunshine Law, in part by using a texting app that erased messages immediately after they are read. At issue is whether office records that should have been retained were destroyed.

State Sen.-elect Lauren Arthur flipped a seat that had been held by Republicans for 12 years.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Marshall Griffin go “on location’’ to welcome Missouri state Sen.-elect Lauren Arthur.

A Democrat, Arthur has touched off a minor political earthquake with her June 5 success in handily winning a state Senate seat in suburban Kansas City that had been held by Republicans for 12 years. Both parties are examining her success to figure out how to duplicate it, or cut it short, in November.

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