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

Clockwise from upper left, Jeb Bush, Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz and Scott Walker

Rex and Jeanne Sinquefield, the wealthy duo who are among the state’s most prominent political donors, have apparently made a choice for president: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The couple is hosting a fundraising event for Walker on July 26 at their St. Louis home in the Central West End. (They also have an estate near Lake of the Ozarks.) Depending on the category of ticket, prices range from $500 a person to $10,800 a couple.

The latest campaign-finance report for Attorney General Chris Koster, the only major Missouri Democratic candidate for governor, shows that he continues to outraise his 2016 rivals on both parties.

Koster reports almost $4 million in the bank after raising almost a $1 million during past three months. Both tallies are more than those reported by any of the Republicans – including likely candidate Eric Greitens, who appears to have the most momentum on the GOP side.

Sen. Eric Schmitt
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, the Politically Speaking podcast team welcomes Missouri state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, the chief sponsor of the broad court-reform bill known as Senate Bill 5.

Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill into law last week. Among other things, it restricts the percentage of income that a municipality can collect from traffic fines and related court fees.

(via Flickr/Tracy O)

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., continues to hold a comfortable finance lead over his chief Democratic rival in 2016, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander.

But there are signs that Kander’s campaign is attracting Republican concern.

Both candidates provided St. Louis Public Radio with early copies of the official summary sheets for their reports, due Wednesday.

President Harry Truman signed this official portrait during his first term in office. The autograph reads: To the Key Club, a great organization in a great city, St. Louis, with best wishes and happy memories. Harry S Truman
Harry S Truman Library & Museum

The Missouri Democratic Party has changed the name of its longstanding biggest event, traditionally known as the Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, to honor instead the state’s most famous Democrat: Harry S Truman.

State Democratic Party chairman Roy Temple says the change was all about acknowledging Truman, a popular former president. But state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, who has called for the name-change for years, suspects the move also may be tied to her longstanding beef about naming the dinner after two presidents who owned slaves.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder announces his running for the Republican nomination for governor.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder says that this time, he really is running for governor.

After several almost-runs over the past decade, Kinder told supporters Sunday that he’s committed this time to capturing state government's top job. If elected, he says he'll improve the state, particularly when it comes to education, employment, ethics and health care. But his chief focus at this campaign kickoff on a hot parking lot near last summer’s unrest in Ferguson was to promise "No more Fergusons, never again.”

The main sponsor of SB5, state Sen. Eric Schmitt, R-Glendale, talks about the bill as Gov. Jay Nixon, right, looks on.
File photo by Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Amid continued concerns over the state’s response to last summer’s Ferguson unrest, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has signed what he calls “the most comprehensive and sweeping municipal court reform bill in Missouri history.”

The governor and a bipartisan cadre of the bill’s sponsors gathered triumphantly Thursday in a courtroom at the historic old St. Louis Post Office. The setting offered up a symbol of the changes that the bill – officially known as Senate Bill 5 – imposes on communities and their local courts.

Jay Ashcroft
Provided by campaign

Jay Ashcroft, a Republican running for secretary of state in 2016, is pleased that the Missouri Secretary of State’s office has authorized him to circulate his initiative petition proposal to allow a photo ID requirement for voters.

Now, he just needs a bunch of volunteers to help out.

Lilly Leyh, left, and Sadie Pierce wait to get their marriage license in November 2014 at the St. Louis recorder of deeds office.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has issued an executive order mandating that state and local agencies comply with the U.S. Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriages.

That order is aimed at places like Schuyler County, where county Recorder of Deeds Linda Blessing says she’s exploring options on whether she has to comply with the court’s action or Nixon’s order.

Former Sen. Maida Coleman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome former Missouri state Sen. Maida Coleman to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat was tapped last year to lead the Office of Community Engagement, an entity set up by Gov. Jay Nixon that, in his administration’s words, is aimed at “engaging communities, public and private sector leaders, clergy and citizens across the state in communication regarding critical issues affecting Missouri communities.” 

Peter Kinder primary election night 2010
Rachel Heidenry | 2010 | St. Louis Beacon

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder is proposing that Gov. Jay Nixon and state Attorney General Chris Koster engage in public debates with him in the coming weeks over the issue of right to work.

“He would be willing to do any forum,’’ a Kinder spokesman said. That includes appearing jointly on TV or on radio.

Author Eric Greitens talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on March 16, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Eric Greitens, author and former Navy Seal, has yet to officially announce whether he’s seeking Missouri’s Republican nomination for governor in 2016.

But St. Louis-based Greitens already has collected at least $1.4 million in 2015 in large donations of more than $5,000 apiece. His largest monthly haul -- $540,000 – was in June.

So far this year, Greitens has been Missouri’s undisputedly biggest recipient of large donations.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

After months of mulling, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce has made her decision.  She’s not going to run for a fifth term next year.

Joyce said in an exclusive interview that the problem isn’t her job. She still loves it. “Anyone who knows me knows I love the circuit attorney’s office,” Joyce said.

But she also wants to enjoy her personal life. And after 16 years as the city’s longest-serving circuit attorney, Joyce said it will be time to do something else.

House Speaker Todd Richardson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back House Speaker Todd Richardson to the program.

(via Flickr/M Glasgow)

The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld a constitutional amendment that broadened gun rights in the state.

Voters approved Amendment 5 in August 2014 with 61 percent of the vote. It made the right to own firearms, ammunition and other accessories in the state "unalienable," and said any form of gun control should be subject to "strict scrutiny." The amendment also allowed the open carrying of guns.

Scott Dieckhaus
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee executive director Scott Dieckhaus to the program.

Protesters holding sign in front of Supreme Court
LaDawna Howard | Flickr

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court upheld a high-profile challenge to the Affordable Care Act that could have made health insurance unaffordable for more than 5 million people.

Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Supporters of a Missouri right-to-work bill are launching the first of what they say will be a series of ad campaigns in the coming months in a bid to persuade state legislators to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s veto.

The state arm of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group with ties to the Koch brothers, began Wednesday running a statewide cable TV ad campaign.

State director Patrick Werner said about $200,000 will be spent on the ads, which are to run until July 4.

Missouri Budget Director Linda Luebbering shares a laugh with Gov. Jay Nixon when she was asked about working for different governors.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

With the state of Missouri’s budget challenges easing, state budget chief Linda Luebbering has decided that it’s time to retire.

That announcement, made Wednesday by Gov. Jay Nixon, sent shock waves through the state Capitol, where Luebbering long has been known for her candor and accessibility.

Diehl briefly speaks with reporters after issuing a statement in which he apologized for "poor judgment" regarding texts he had with a female intern.
Eli Rosenberg | KMBC-TV, Kansas City

The FBI has apparently been questioning some public officials and other potential sources of information about whether former Missouri House Speaker John Diehl used any influence in the awarding of a Jackson County contract.

Diehl, who is a Republican from Town and Country, said late Tuesday that he has not been contacted by the FBI. He declined further comment.

However, the consultant whose firm had been awarded the contract – former Democratic aide Brittany Burke – said she had been questioned by the law-enforcement agency several weeks ago. Diehl and Burke have confirmed they were involved in a relationship for several months in early 2014, but they have not been together in more than a year.