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.

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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.)

Republican state auditor nominee Tom Schweich has reported his first hefty donation since winning his party's nod a month ago. David Humphreys, co-owner of Tamko Building Products in Joplin, wrote a check to Schweich this week for $50,000.

Humphreys had given Schweich $10,000 during his primary battle against state Rep. Allen Icet of Wildwood.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon's office has just announced that he has appointed a nine-person search committee to look for a permanent replacement for Mark Templeton, the former head of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, who resigned Monday.

The committee includes two St. Louisans:

National AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka offered a rousing endorsement today of Missouri's Democratic U.S. Senate nominee, Robin Carnahan, and laid out the stakes of this fall's election in graphic terms for the state and national labor movement.

"The party of 'No' doesn't want your vote," Trumka told several hundred state labor leaders gathered at the downtown Renaissance hotel for their annual statewide AFL-CIO convention. "All they want you to do is stay home out of frustration."

Pre-speech predictions that President Barack Obama's Iraq address Tuesday night was aimed primarily at his political base appeared to be borne out -- with area Democrats initially offering the only comments shortly before and after his speech.

The silence from most Republicans may have reflected their need to mull over his comments or a decision to continue their focus on other issues -- most notably, the continued troubled economy. The one GOP exception was U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, R-Springfield and Missouri's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate.

Allen Hill, a Vietnam War veteran from Festus, is leery of the real reason the United States is ending its military operations in Iraq.

President Barack Obama's explanation to be delivered on television Tuesday night -- that it's now time for the Iraqis to defend themselves -- sounds to Hill a lot like what then-President Richard M. Nixon said in 1975, when the U.S. ended military action in Vietnam.

Express Scripts' expansion in north St. Louis County may have made the pharmaceutical supplier the darling of state and regional officials. But it's also put the growing firm at odds with some major unions, many of whom contract with the firm for their workers' medicines.

And those tensions could spread here.

This just in: Gov. Jay Nixon just named Kip Stetzler acting director of the state Department of Natural Resources following the resignation today of Mark N. Templeton.

According to Nixon: "Templeton will become the executive director of the Office of the Independent Trustees of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust. In that role, he will be responsible for ensuring that funds are available to address the claims of those affected by BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Templeton has been DNR director since 2009."

The national Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is finally swooping into Missouri with a TV ad aimed at helping Democratic nominee Robin Carnahan by bashing her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt.

The lawyer for Russ Carnahan's former campaign worker accused by some of tossing a molotov cocktail into the congressman's campaign office says the worker is innocent and no evidence links him to the incident.

"He's vigorously denying the allegations,'' said lawyer Susan Roach, referring to her client, Chris Powers.

She confirmed that police investigating the Aug. 17 incident interviewed Powers, but added, "there's no evidence that would place him at the scene of the crime."

The Missouri Democratic Party owns up to two special websites -- theveryworstofwashington.com and favorofthemonth.com -- set up solely to highlight what it views as the failings of the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, Roy Blunt.

As Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is being bombarded with negative TV attack ads, the Missouri Democratic Party has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission against one of the sources.

Missouri's two members of the U.S. Senate, Republican Christopher "Kit" Bond and Democrat Claire McCaskill, may disagree on most issues -- but are on the same page when it comes to wooing closer business ties with China.

The two are leading a state delegation to China on Sunday. The group will include "government, business and civic leaders along with the Midwest-China Hub Commission," a commission release said today.

In the 8th District congressional contest, Democrat Tommy Sowers and Republican incumbent Jo Ann Emerson both have new TV ads on the air. Both spots go negative, which is unusual so far out before the Nov. 2 election.  

Candidates often wait until after Labor Day to take off the verbal gloves, in part because that's when voters are most likely to pay attention.

The ad attacks by Emerson and Sowers both fit in with their respective party line.

U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, told reporters Wednesday afternoon that it was "outrageous'' for some conservative critics to allege that his campaign had orchestrated last week's firebombing of his campaign office.

"It's very sobering when you have a fire set in your office,'' he said, calling the whole episode "a nightmare."

Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, on Tuesday clarified her position on the Bush tax cuts by saying that she eventually may support a phaseout of tax reductions for the wealthiest Americans once the economy was back on track.

"It's a matter of timing. Right now is not the time to do this," Carnahan said in an interview after she had addressed members of the Missouri National Education Association in a tele-town hall held at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

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