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

Congressman John Shimkus, November 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back U.S. Rep. John Shimkus to the show for the third time.

Shimkus is a Collinsville Republican who was first elected to the U.S. House in 1996. He represents the enormous and heavily Republican 15th congressional district, which encompasses a big chunk of southern Illinois. In fact, since redistricting went into effect in 2012, Shimkus says his district appears to be the largest – area-wise – of any district east of the Mississippi River.

Beyond Housing's Chris Krehmeyer stands in a vacant unit inside Rosie Shields Manor in Pagedale. Krehmeyer's group has developed a number of projects using the low-income housing tax credit.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

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.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken speaks Saturday at the Truman Dinner in St. Louis. The Minnesota senator was the keynote speaker for the Missouri Democratic Party event.
Courtesy of the Missouri Democratic Party

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.

Gage Skidmore | Flickr

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 (second from left) argues with Councilman Sam Page during a meeting of the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Page sponsored a bill halting construction at the site of an ice center.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

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.

State Rep. Joe Adams, D-University City
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Missouri state Rep. Joe Adams, a Democrat from University City.

It’s the first appearance on the podcast for Adams, who has been involved in area politics for more than three decades.

Bob McCulloch is sworn in for another term as St. Louis County Prosecutor in 2015.
File photo | Bill Greenblatt | UPI

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.

State Rep. Bruce Franks answers reporter questions outside City Hall on Sept. 29, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

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?”

State Rep. Shane Roden, R-Cedar Hill
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Missouri state Rep. Shane Roden to the program for the first time.

The Cedar Hill Republican represents portions of northwest Jefferson County in the Missouri House. He was first elected in 2014, a year when the GOP took control of most of that county’s legislative offices.

U.S. Sen. Al Franken speaks Saturday at the Truman Dinner in St. Louis. The Minnesota senator was the keynote speaker for the Missouri Democratic Party event.
Courtesy of the Missouri Democratic Party

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.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

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, a Republican from Ballwin, raised $804,000 from Jan. 1 to March 31.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

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.”

Rep. Clem Smith, D-Velda Village Hills
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back state Rep. Clem Smith to the program.

The Velda Village Hills Democrat has represented a slew of central and north St. Louis County municipalities since 2011. He will leave the House after the 2018 session due to term limits.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (second from left) argues with Councilman Sam Page during a meeting of the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Page sponsored a bill halting construction at the site of an ice center.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A majority of the St. Louis County Council has filed suit to determine if it has any power to hire employees over the objections of County Executive Steve Stenger.

The suit was filed Monday in St. Louis County Circuit Court. It contends Stenger overstepped his bounds by refusing to hire more staff for county Auditor Mark Tucker.

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

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican now running for the U.S. Senate, said he fully supports President Donald Trump’s overall plan to cut taxes – and accuses Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill of opposing the idea.

“She has been unequivocally ‘no’ on the president’s blueprint,’’ Hawley said in a conference call Wednesday with reporters. “She has said ‘no’ to the proposal that the president has on the table.”

peter.a photography | Flickr

In a bid to boost pro-pot efforts statewide, St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green has filed a bill to bar city police from enforcing federal or state laws against marijuana.

Green said she has at least six co-sponsors for her bill that would, in effect, allow people to use, sell and grow marijuana within the city’s borders.

Paul Curtman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

State Rep. Paul Curtman, a Republican from Franklin County, says he’s running for state auditor next year, after months of entertaining a possible bid for the U.S. Senate.

Curtman is touting his conservative credentials and his service in the U. S. Marine Corps in stops around the state to officially launch his campaign.

Missouri candidates for statewide and legislative offices are having to learn the ropes of Amendment 2, which imposes campaign-donation restrictions.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Just over a year away from what could be a crucial 2018 election, Missouri candidates are grappling with the new restrictions to campaign donations mandated by the voter-approved measure known as Amendment 2.

Close to 70 percent of Missouri voters approved the constitutional amendment in 2016, putting an end to the state’s 10-year status as one of only a handful of states without donation limits. But flaws in the new system are prompting the General Assembly and political activists to seek more changes.  

House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, left, congratulates House Speaker Todd Richardson at the beginning of the 2017 session. Haahr will take over as House speaker in early 2019.
Tim Bommel I House Communications

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr to the program for the second time.

The Springfield Republican recently emerged victorious in his party’s race to become speaker of the Missouri House in January 2019. He ended up defeating Reps. Robert Cornejo, and Holly Rehder.

County police and their families help pack the room as the County Council considers a police pay raise.
Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 31, 2017: Before a packed crowd, the St. Louis County Council gave final approval to a pay hike for county police beginning Jan. 1.  The vote of 6-0, with one absent, came after no debate. The result touched off lots of applause from police and their families packing the audience.

Our earlier story:

The St. Louis County Council got an earful Tuesday before members unanimously gave initial approval to a measure increasing county police pay beginning Jan. 1.  

For almost two hours, council members heard mainly from St. Louis County police officers and their families concerned that the pay hike might be blocked by a pension dispute between Council Chairman Sam Page and County Executive Steve Stenger. 

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Just over a year before the 2018 elections, Missouri’s incumbents are doing their best to raise enough money to scare off their competitors. And that also may be true for some of those rivals, as well.

Aside from the U.S. Senate race, the Missouri state auditor is the only statewide post that will be up for grabs next year. Campaign finance reports filed Monday show Democratic incumbent Nicole Galloway with $665,380 in the bank as of Sept. 30. She had raised $211,118 during the past three months.

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Sarah Unsicker to the program for the first time.

The Shrewsbury Democrat was first won election in 2016 to represent the 91st House District, which takes in portions of St. Louis and St. Louis County, including most of Webster Groves, Shrewsbury and Crestwood.

peter.a_photography | Flickr

With less than six months to go, at least one proposal to legalize medicinal use of marijuana in Missouri appears to be in a strong position to get on statewide ballots next year.

New Approach Missouri says it already has collected 100,000 signatures from registered voters, and expects to have well over the necessary 165,000 by the state’s May 6 deadline for submitting initiative petitions.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill has amassed more than $7.1 million in her campaign account so far for her 2018 re-election bid. That’s almost twice the amount she had on-hand at the same point in her 2012 re-election campaign.

The Missouri Democrat’s latest campaign reports, due Sunday, show that she raised just over $2.9 million during the past three months — more than twice her tally in October 2011.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Flickr | McCaskill | April 2015

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is continuing to hold town hall meetings in so-called “Trump Country,’’ part of her Democratic quest to improve her re-election chances next year through reaching every potential rural supporter she can find.

Wednesday marked her 46th town hall event this year, this one in in Washington, Missouri, where about 70 percent of last year’s presidential votes went for Republican Donald Trump. McCaskill told the crowd packing the Washington City Council chambers that she owed it to all Missourians, whether they support her or not,  to “show respect.”

David French
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome the National Review’s David French to the program.

French was in St. Louis on Wednesday for a Washington University lecture about free speech on college campuses. It’s a topic that’s become more pronounced in recent months, especially after Donald Trump’s election as president.

Senator Roy Blunt speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC in 2011.
File photo I Gage Skidmore | Flickr

Speaking  to a group of local health care professionals, Missouri U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt couldn’t resist deploying his renowned dry wit when he was asked about President Donald Trump’s social media feud with powerful Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker.

Blunt quipped: “Did I mention it’s Mental Health Day?”

But while touching off laughter, Blunt said Tuesday that his fellow Republicans’ pointed exchanges could have serious consequences on some major policy issues.

Rep. Justin Alferman, R-Hermann, is sponsoring legislation that would implement a photo ID requirement for voting.
File photo I Tim Bommel, Missouri House Communications

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Rep. Justin Alferman back to the program.

The Hermann Republican represents Missouri's the 61st House District, which takes in portions of Gasconade, Franklin and Osage counties. Alferman is vice chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee, which is in charge of shaping the state’s spending priorities every year.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s new campaign donation restrictions have given new status to St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.  He now is collecting more large contributions than any other political candidate in the state.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger (second from left) argues with Councilman Sam Page during a meeting of the St. Louis County Council on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. Page sponsored a bill halting construction at the site of an ice center.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council is preparing to go to court to determine if it has the power to hire county employees over the objection of County Executive Steve Stenger.

But first, a judge will have to decide who pays the council’s lawyers.

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