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

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, left foreground, and attorney Frankie Freeman, second from right, were featured at the Democrats' Truman Dinner.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Reflecting party leaders’ desire to change things up, the Missouri Democratic Party chose an unusual venue for Saturday night’s renamed Truman Dinner: the field of Busch Stadium.

The “unusual” extended to the evening’s highlight – a surprise video by Hillary Clinton, displayed on the “jumbo-tron” – and the closing: fireworks.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin
Official photo

St. Louis area congresswoman Ann Wagner acknowledges that she’s not always “politically correct.”

But Wagner, R-Ballwin, says that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has taken that term to an all-new level with his harsh jabs at  critics and reporters. And she suggests that he dial it back.

A new TV ad calls for legislators to override Gov. Jay Nixon's veto of "right-to-work" legislation.
Screenshot | Americans for Prosperity ad

After a brief hiatus, both sides in the battle over “right to work” are back with a vengeance as they gear up for the Missouri General Assembly’s veto session in just over two weeks.

The dueling campaigns may be aimed, in part, at influencing Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Cape Girardeau. A spokesman said the speaker has yet to decide whether to bring up the “right to work” bill, which was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon earlier this summer.

Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s political journo-duo – Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – welcome state Auditor Nicole Galloway to the program for the first time.

The Democratic official was appointed to statewide office earlier this year after the death of state Auditor Tom Schweich. Before taking the reins, Galloway was in her first full term as Boone County’s treasurer.

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt are the front runners for the Democratic and Republican nominations in the next Senate race.
official photos

Fifteen months before the 2016 election, Missouri’s major candidates for the U.S. Senate – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – are ensnared in two familiar issues:

  • The use of private planes;
  • Accusations that each is too tied to special interests.

A key difference is that, for the most part, the attacks aren’t coming from the candidates or their campaigns. Rather, they’re being launched by party surrogates on their behalf.

Flickr/SuperFantastic

The second group in a week has filed proposed initiative petitions aimed at increasing Missouri’s tobacco tax.

A campaign group called Raise Your Hand For Kids on Wednesday filed six versions of an initiative-petition proposal for the 2016 ballot that call for increasing the state’s cigarette tax by 50 cents a pack.

Republican GOP - RIGHT WIDTH - also avail. gopelephantleft
Wikipedia

Republican leaders in St. Louis County’s 89th state House District needed only one ballot to choose lawyer Dean Plocher overwhelmingly as their nominee to replace former House Speaker John Diehl. 

Diehl, R-Town and Country, resigned in disgrace last May because of his sexually explicit text messages with a college-age intern.

Plocher handily defeated two other contenders — former state Rep. Cole McNary and lawyer Tom Nations — in balloting Tuesday night at the Town and Country City Hall.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

While lauding a new Canadian trade deal, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon warned that Missouri’s future role in international trade will depend on improving transportation needs back home.

“Not just Missouri, but as a country, we’re going to have to make some decisions,’’ the governor said in a conference call Tuesday with reporters.

“Bridges don’t come for free. Ports don’t come for free. And last I checked, nobody comes out and pours concrete and puts rebar in for free,” Nixon said in an unusually passionate pitch.

Curran | Flickr

Three years after killing off Missouri’s latest statewide tobacco-tax proposal, the group representing many Missouri gas stations and convenience stores has filed two initiative-petition proposals of its own to hike the tax.

Missouri’s tobacco tax is now 17 cents a pack and is the nation’s lowest. The Missouri Petroleum Marketers & Convenience Store Association’s proposals would increase the per-pack tax to 40 cents by 2021.

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

Almost weekly, it seems, Missouri’s Republican field for governor either gets larger or smaller.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is now in the race, as is state Sen. Bob Dixon of Springfield.  State Sen. Mike Parson of Joplin is out. And two likely St. Louis area contenders – John Brunner and Eric Greitens – are in the wings, presumably waiting for the right time to launch.

All that jockeying appears to have drawn attention away from the one Republican who’s been campaigning the longest: former state House Speaker Catherine Hanaway.

State Rep. Cloria Brown
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies continue their look into south St. Louis County politics by welcoming state Rep. Cloria Brown onto the show.

Brown is a city of St. Louis native who had a successful career in information technology. After working her way through several jobs, Brown eventually became vice president of information systems for MasterCard International. She was one of the few women to be a leader in the male-dominated field.

Tom Dempsey R. Mo Senator 02182014
Official photo

Former Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, who resigned less than a week ago, says his new title is “director of business development’’ at a Clayton-based lobbying firm, Gate Way Group.

Dempsey, a Republican from St. Charles, said in an interview that he began work this week. His resignation from the state Senate was effective last Friday.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has promised to help get a contribution limit measure on next year's ballot. But other Democratic officials have promised such a move and haven't delivered.
Courtesy of Claire McCaskill's Flickr

(Updated Friday, Aug. 14)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is claiming a sizable share of credit for the 2012 GOP primary victory of rival Todd Akin, who then lost to McCaskill in that year's general election by a sizeable margin.

But she denies that her indirect aid broke any campaign laws. A group filed a complaint Friday with the Federal Election Commission, alleging otherwise.

“I think it was high risk, and very strategic,” McCaskill said during a radio interview Thursday with host Don Marsh on St. Louis On the Air.

State Rep. Vicki Englund
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome (back) former state Rep. Vicki Englund, a Green Park Democrat who's served two terms in the Missouri House.

Englund served two non-consecutive terms in the Missouri House, representing competitive territory in south St. Louis County.

(Office of Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson)

Former Missouri congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson is in stable condition at a hospital in Italy after suffering a brain hemorrhage. 

A spokeswoman said Emerson had been vacationing with her family when she "experienced a medical emergency."

St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With the clock ticking closer to the anniversary of Michael Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch for a special edition of Politically Speaking.

Tear gas was used in Ferguson. Nov. 24 2014
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A year after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and the unrest that ensued, many of the major political players continue to reassess, reappraise and reflect.

Scott Sifton
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, state Sen. Scott Sifton joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about his decision to scuttle his attorney general bid.

Provided by candidate

Amid their hunt for a bunch of statewide candidates, Missouri Democrats now have at least one well-known contender for secretary of state:  former KMOV reporter Robin Smith.

Smith, who just retired from her 40-year TV career, announced Sunday that she plans to run for the statewide post — which will be open in the 2016 election because Democratic incumbent Jason Kander for running for the U.S. Senate.

After meeting with female veterans and healthcare providers, Blunt walks to the VA Women's Clinic in St. Louis.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

After stopping at the VA medical center in Jefferson Barracks, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., said he continues to be concerned about the long waiting lists of veterans seeking treatment. 

Blunt says he’s particularly worried about growing delays in treating combat-related mental illness and emotional problems. He says the VA should be responding quickly to help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders and should be committed to offering the nation’s best treatments.

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