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

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: In his first political address since taking office, Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander readily embraced a new role Saturday as Democratic attack dog as he fired off a series of jabs and quips directed at top Republicans who, he joked, still want to ignore his election.

Kander’s brunch audience at the party’s annual Democrat Days in Hannibal, Mo., applauded as he took issue with state Auditor Tom Schweich’s recent advice to fellow Republicans that the best way to counter the GOP’s dismal statewide showing last fall was to offer up “more competent candidates.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, a huge booster of Missouri’s historic tax credit program, isn’t happy with the bill approved Thursday by the Missouri Senate that slashes the program’s annual allocation ceiling by almost two-thirds.

But Slay's chief of staff Jeff Rainford said the mayor is confident that the state House will mandate a higher ceiling and “not anything close to this draconian” limit.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: St. Louis’ battle for mayor isn’t the only key contest on the March 5 Democratic primary ballot. City voters in 14 odd-numbered wards -- and in the 6th Ward -- will also choose their aldermen for the next four years.

Because St. Louis is overwhelmingly Democratic, many of those wards have no candidates from any other party. So the March 5 victors will have a strong edge -- or, in many cases, a lock -- in the April 2 general election.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis region’s lack of immigrants has hurt its economy and its growth – and its civic leaders are out to change the trend.

As those involved see it, Congress should use that experience and insight as examples of how to proceed – or not -- when it crafts a new immigration policy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Kirkwood City Council has voted unanimously to add sexual orientation and gender identity to its existing nondiscrimination policy, making Kirkwood the 10th municipality in St. Louis County – and the 11th in the region – to do so.

Kirkwood’s action comes just weeks after the St. Louis County Council approved a similar measure. The city of St. Louis also has a similar ordinance, as does Kansas City, neighboring Jackson County, and the city of Columbia, Mo.

Amid a toxic atmosphere of attack ads, biting websites and accusations of corruption and incompetence, perhaps it's hardly surprising that the campaigns for many area candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot are still debating over whether to debate.

Likely because of the sniping, this fall's negotiations over debates are particularly tense, said Linda McDaniel, co-president of the St. Louis League of Women Voters, which has been tapped to organize or moderate many of them.

Only a handful of opponents of Proposition B, the Nov. 2 ballot measure to regulate dog breeding in Missouri, showed up Tuesday night for a protest outside the Humane Society offices on Macklind Avenue in St. Louis.

Inside, supporters of the measure -- Proposition B -- heard from national and state leaders of animal-rights groups, who said passage of the ballot measure would have national repercussions. Jill Buckley of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals noted Missouri's reputation as "the puppy mill capital of the United States."

When Missouri's legislators gather Wednesday in Jefferson City, expect to hear a lot of talk about a film festival last weekend in Warrensburg, Mo., that was funded with $100,000 in federal stimulus funds.

State House Speaker Ron Richard, R-Joplin, cites the festival as a poor use of federal money -- and an example of why the state Legislature should have a stronger say in how federal stimulus money is spent.

Former Missouri Gov. Warren E. Hearnes, a Democrat who died in August 2009, will be inducted Wednesday into the state Capitol's Hall of Famous Missourians, where his bronze bust will be displayed.

A ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. Wednesday in the chamber of the state House of Representatives.

Attorney General Chris Koster has just announced that an agreement has been reached with Premier Exhibitions Inc., sponsor of "Bodies … The Exhibition," which he called "a cadaver exhibit" and which is slated to open in October at the St. Louis Galleria.

As part of the agreement, Premier will post a detailed disclosure with the exhibit that acknowledges that it's unclear where the bodies -- encased in plastic, with the skin removed -- were acquired in China, and that some may be deceased Chinese prisoners.

Brian Nieves
Official photo

State Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, said in an exclusive interview Sunday night that his wife's cell phone and records have been subpoenaed in what he calls the continued "malicious prosecution" of accusations that Nieves assaulted the campaign aide of a rival Republican in this summer's nasty contest for the 26th District state Senate seat.

Roy Blunt, left, with Dick Morris 9.12.2010
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2010

Missouri's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Roy Blunt, didn't have to say a word Sunday when he unexpectedly took center stage at the downtown Tea Party rally on the grounds of the Gateway Arch.

Touching off deafening cheers, the congressman from southwest Missouri joined conservative commentator Dick Morris, who did all the talking and the attacking. Morris explained that political comments by Blunt would violate the event's edict barring speeches by candidates.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is breaking with the White House on another issue, by opposing President Barack Obama's proposal to spend $50 billion on infrastructure projects.

She also launched Friday another negative ad against her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who spent the day traveling around rural parts of the state with Missouri Farm Bureau President Charlie Kruse.

Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert E. Parks announced today that he will not be filing criminal charges against state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, who is accused of assaulting the campaign manager of a rival Republican in this summer's nasty contest for the 26th District state Senate seat.

The altercation allegedly took place in Nieves' campaign office on Aug. 4, the day after he won the nomination. Nieves currently is the heavy favorite to win the Senate seat in the Nov. 2 election.

The Spending Revolt Bus
Provided

The Spending Revolt National Bus Tour, which is financed by a number of conservative groups, will stop by the Gateway Arch at noon on Sunday -- just as area Tea Party activists arrive for their 9/12 rally aimed at energizing the movement for the coming Nov. 2 election.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, is to headline a Clayton town hall that the Spending Revolt tour will be holding at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza hotel, 7730 Bonhomme.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Republican rival Bill Corrigan sharpened their attacks today during their second public forum, held over lunch before members of the Northwest Chamber of Commerce.

Dooley, a Democrat in office since 2003, accused Corrigan of "having something to hide'' because the latter has declined to release his personal income tax returns, as the county executive did last week.

Corrigan, in turn, accused Dooley of improperly spending county money on "$150,000-a-year consultants'' and opinion polls.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., today condemned the plans of a Florida pastor, Terry Jones, to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. McCaskill made her remarks in response to a question at a news conference today on local veterans’ issues.

"I don't know how anybody in the name of God would want to endanger the lives of American soldiers," the senator said, referring to the outcry already underway among some Muslims abroad.

only 300 wide. robin carnahan campaigning for senate
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Beacon | 2010

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan called today for members of Congress to take a 10 percent pay cut until they balance the federal budget.

Robin Carnahan talked about economic pain and the need for Congress to understand what the public is feeling.

Carnahan, currently Missouri's secretary of state, told supporters at a Clayton pharmacy that a pay cut would force Congress to feel some of the economic pain that many Americans now suffer, and shift legislators' attention.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., appeared to exude more optimism today about St. Louis' chances of landing a transit hub with China than she was about her party's chances in this fall's election.

Addressing members of the St. Louis Chamber and Growth Association, McCaskill said that the latest talks with China indicate Lambert Field should be seeing two Chinese cargo flights a week by next summer.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- arguably the most popular Republican now running a Democratic-dominated state -- will be campaigning in Missouri on Wednesday for GOP U.S. Senate nominee Roy Blunt.

Although, technically, Christie won't be in the state. He will join Blunt via teleconference, as they address Blunt volunteers gathered in campaign sites around the state.

(From left) Rick Firebaugh, John Boehner and Ed Martin
with permission from the Ed Martin campaign

U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, may not have been seen during last weekend's visit to Missouri, but both parties hope he'll be heard.

Boehner headlined private fundraising events:

U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, marked Labor Day by launching a new ad that focuses on jobs and features the owner of a St. Louis dry-cleaning store.

But arguably more significantly, the ad includes what the GOP believes may be a magic word this election season: Obama.

"Robin Carnahan supports the Obama agenda. I don't,'' says Blunt in the ad, referring to his Democratic rival.

Sherman George and Francis Slay
File photo

Former St. Louis Fire Chief Sherman George in the past has been at odds with Mayor Francis Slay over some things -- but the two share opposition to Proposition A, the statewide ballot proposal to bar or restrict local earnings taxes.

In St. Louis and Kansas City, which now impose an earnings tax, Proposition A would require citywide votes every five years to sustain the tax. All other communities in the state would be barred from imposing such a tax on income.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green says she will campaign against Proposition A and will help raise money to defeat the Nov. 2 statewide ballot proposal, which would bar Missouri communities from imposing earnings taxes, and require local authorization votes in the two cities that already have them: St. Louis and Kansas City.

Green says she plans to "speak out against Proposition A on Oct. 1 during her keynote address at the annual Workers Rights Board breakfast."

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is leading a host of prominent Missouri Republicans, past and present, who are headlining a Sept. 27 statewide blitz of fundraising events on behalf of GOP state auditor nominee Tom Schweich.

Schweich said today he hopes to raise $500,000 over the day, which includes a breakfast in Kansas City, a lunch in Springfield, Mo., and dinner in St. Louis.

In Missouri's increasingly bitter contest for the U.S. Senate, Republican Roy Blunt is bringing in some big guns while Democrat Robin Carnahan is countering with a big shot.

Blunt, a congressman from southwest Missouri, is traveling around outstate Missouri on Friday with top officials with the National Rifle Association as part of an apparent move to elevate the social-issue planks like gun rights that help energize conservative Republicans -- especially in rural Missouri.

Missouri's decline in state income may be coming to an end. The figures released today by state Budget Director Linda Luebbering show that state government saw a slight uptick in revenue collections for August, compared to a year ago: $594 million last month, compared to $589.5 million a year ago.

Although up only $4.5 million, the 0.8 percent increase comes after close to two years of monthly declines -- many of them in double digits.

Brenda Talent, a prominent tax lawyer and the wife of former Sen. Jim Talent, is taking on a new job next week as the new executive director of the St. Louis-based Show-Me Institute.

The conservative research and educational institute advocates free-market approaches, particularly in fiscal matters.

The day after President Barack Obama gave a major speech on Iraq, all of the major political events on Wednesday were focused on -- jobs.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley headlined a packed business luncheon in Clayton hosted by the county's Economic Council, and featuring a bipartisan array of politicians in the audience or on screen. (A special video narrated by Dooley, a Democrat, honored retiring U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo.)

Former state Sen. Betty Sims, R-Ladue, has been named by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, to the state's Coordinating Board for Higher Education.

Sims held the 24th District state Senate post from 1995-2003, when she had to step down because of term limits. She was succeeded by Democrat Joan Bray, who also is leaving after this year because of term limits. (The 24th District has the region's only competitive state Senate this fall, between Democrat Barbara Fraser and Republican John Lamping.)

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