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

Jo Mannies/St. Louis Public Radio

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is calling for a sharp increase in the state’s tobacco tax — now the nation’s lowest — to pay for a scholarship program to lower tuition at the state’s colleges and universities.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

A month before the April election, the St. Louis County Election Board is acknowledging that the ballot for the city of Jennings is faulty – and a special election will need to be held later to correct it.

New county Democratic elections director Eric Fey says the problem is not of the board’s making.

Mary Ellen Ponder
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Mary Ellen Ponder to the show. 

Ponder was recently appointed chief of staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, replacing Jeff Rainford. She is the first woman to serve as chief of staff for a St. Louis mayor.

Tuesday's elections will decide who will fill 17 out of 28 seats in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis lawyer Jack Coatar will be the new alderman for the city’s 7th District, which takes in much of downtown, after winning Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

“I’m humbled by the margin,’’ said Coatar, who snagged just over 57 percent of the vote in a three-way contest.

But Coatar’s sizable victory is arguably overshadowed by the surprise defeat of veteran 20th Ward Alderman Craig Schmid, who lost to Cara Spencer by 90 votes out of 749 votes cast ward-wide.

Friends of Tom Schweich

Retired U.S. Sen. John Danforth  is blaming Missouri’s nasty political climate – and an alleged anti-Semitic “whispering campaign” -- for  state Auditor Tom Schweich’s suicide, and he is calling on officials in both parties to “make Tom’s death a turning point in our state.”

State Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee's Summit
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking podcast team – Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies – this week welcomed state Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit and  a 2016 candidate for Missouri secretary of state.

But first, the duo joined Jefferson City correspondent Marshall Griffin in commemorating the late state Auditor Tom Schweich, who died last Thursday from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A memorial service is to be held Tuesday at his church in Clayton.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has named longtime aide John Watson as the state’s interim state auditor, until the governor can appoint a permanent replacement to state Auditor Tom Schweich, who committed suicide on Thursday.

Nixon said in a statement Friday that he was putting Watson temporarily in charge of the auditor’s office in order to comply with the state constitution’s requirement that the governor “immediately appoint’’ a replacement should the auditor’s post become vacant.  

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann preview Tuesday’s election in St. Louis.

Tom Schweich is sworn in for his second term as state auditor in January.
Tim Bommel, House Communications

(Updated 5:10 p.m.)

Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, shocking the state’s political world and throwing turmoil into the state’s 2016 contest for governor.

Seventeen out of the Board of Aldermen's 28 seats are up for election on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Being an incumbent St. Louis alderman is no longer a safe bet.

For various reasons, 17 of the city’s 28 members of the Board of Aldermen – all Democrats – will be on the ballot next Tuesday in the city’s March 3 primaries.

And all but a couple of the incumbents have opposition from fellow Democrats.

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

Gov. Jay Nixon's office confirmed late Wednesday that former St. Louis Police Chief Daniel Isom was stepping down from his new job as director of the Missouri Department of Public Safety.

Nixon chose Isom last fall, amid the unrest in Ferguson. The former chief was only confirmed in January. Isom's decision to step down touched off unrest in the state Capitol, with allies blaming the governor for Isom's swift exit.

This week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast has a mid-Missouri flair to it – primarily because St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are welcoming state Sen. Mike Kehoe to the show.

John Hancock at 2015 Lincoln Days
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Saturday)

Kansas City - St. Louis political consultant and radio host John Hancock promised to put the Missouri Republican Party on a stronger financial and organizational footing for 2016 after he handily won election Saturday as the new party chairman.

Hancock’s election was arguably the most important task for Missouri Republicans gathered in Kansas City this weekend for their annual Reagan-Lincoln Days festivities.

Sen. Roy Blunt at Lincoln Days 2015
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 10:30 p.m.  Saturday)

Kansas City - President Barack Obama has Democratic company – just-announced U.S. Senate hopeful Jason Kander – as Missouri Republicans’ favorite verbal punching bag.

That was evident throughout this weekend’s annual Reagan-Lincoln Days, held this year in Kansas City.

Jay Ashcroft
Provided by campaign

St. Louis lawyer Jay Ashcroft has declared his 2016 bid for Missouri secretary of state, becoming the first of what’s expected to be a deluge of contenders since Secretary of State Jason Kander is running for the U.S. Senate instead.

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday he will run for the U.S. Senate. It sets up a collision course with U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday he will run for the U.S. Senate next year.

It’s a move that ensures U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., will have competition in 2016 – and opens up a down-ballot statewide contest for both parties.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Tim Lloyd welcome St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman to the show.

Zimmerman grew up in St. Louis County — attending Clayton schools — before attending Claremont McKenna University and Harvard Law School. He worked for Attorney General Jay Nixon and former Gov. Bob Holden before getting elected to a state House seat in 2006.

Tom Dempsey R. Mo Senator 02182014
Official photo

Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, says he has yet to take a position on the “right-to-work’’ bill that is headed to his chamber after passing the House last week.

“I’m still looking at it,’’ Dempsey said in an interview.

He also remains skeptical that the measure — which would restrict union rights in the workplace — has enough Senate votes to override what he sees as “a certain veto’’ by Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat with close labor ties.

Wikipedia

Missouri Republican activists will signal their first 2016 presidential preferences by participating  in a straw poll this weekend during the party’s annual Lincoln Days festivities.

This year, the event has been renamed “Reagan-Lincoln Days’’ in honor of Ronald Reagan, who was president in the 1980s.

The unscientific straw poll is among the activities aimed at energizing the hundreds of party faithful expected to attend the three-day event in Kansas City.

(via Flickr/lowjumpingfrog)

Over the past 10 years since it faced two federal lawsuits, the St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners has quietly cut 75,000 people off of its voter rolls.

That represents more than a quarter of the 281, 316 voters on the city's rolls in 2004. St. Louis' voter list now totals 206,349, according to state election records.

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