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

Gov. Jay Nixon makes his way to the dais in the Missouri House to deliver his last State of the State address.
Mallory Daily | St. Louis Public Radio intern

For his final state budget, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking no risks.

His proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 features no grand gestures of setting up new programs, and calls for limited increases for the state’s current operations.

U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis for the first time.

Davis represents Illinois’ 13th Congressional District, which takes in portions of the Metro East and central Illinois. Before he was elected to office in 2012, the Taylorville Republican served as a staffer for U.S. Rep. John Shimkus, R-Collinsville.

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

(Will be updated as campaign-finance reports are filed)

Republican Eric Greitens, an author and former Navy SEAL, appears to have bested his rivals for governor in both parties with his latest fundraising numbers.

Greitens’ latest campaign report, filed Friday, showed that he has raised $1.5 million since Oct. 1. That puts him slightly ahead of the $1.4 million reported by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, a Democrat and the longstanding fiscal frontrunner in the crowded battle to succeed outgoing Gov. Jay Nixon.

Russ Carnahan
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, a member of arguably Missouri’s most prominent Democratic family, has ended months of speculation by filing paperwork to run for lieutenant governor.

On Friday, Carnahan set up a campaign committee with the Missouri Ethics Committee.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

In a sign that Missouri’s U.S. Senate contest is really heating up, the two major candidates – Republican incumbent Roy Blunt and Democrat Jason Kander – released their latest campaign-finance documents almost three weeks early.

Blunt is continuing to outraise and outspend Kander, currently Missouri’s secretary of state. But the overall numbers fail to tell the whole story.

The Missouri House committee on government oversight and accountability passed four ethics bills on Monday and could be debated on the House floor as early as Wednesday. 1/11/16
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri House Republicans are keeping their foot on the gas as they steer the first group of ethics bills through their chamber.

Four ethics bills were heard by a House committee, then easily passed after little more than an hour's worth of discussions.

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

Although candidate filing is about six weeks away, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt and his Democratic opponent, Secretary of State Jason Kander, are already weathering repeated political attacks.

Rather than focus on their campaigns, many of the criticisms are aimed at damaging their character by challenging how they are handling their offices. 

Republicans are faulting Kander for some of the findings in a recent state audit, which questions how he had handled staff raises and how his office had misfiled $120,000. Meanwhile, Democrats continue to jab at Blunt’s apparent increased use of charter planes, which cost taxpayers more than if he traveled by car.

Dave Schatz
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Sen. Dave Schatz to the program for the first time.

Schatz is a Republican hailing from rural Franklin County. The Sullivan native’s state Senate district encompasses western St. Louis County and all of Franklin County.

presidential candidates 2016
Wikipedia

Ever hear of Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente?  How about Willie Wilson?

Both are Democrats running for president. And they’ll be on the March 15 presidential primary ballots in Missouri and Illinois.

Wednesday was the last day of the frenetic 72-hour period when presidential candidates could file in Illinois. Missouri’s 29-day window closed about two weeks ago.

Cara Spencer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On another edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Alderman Cara Spencer to the program for the first time.

Spencer represents the city’s 20th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. The ward includes several south St. Louis neighborhoods, including Gravois Park, Marine Villa, Mount Pleasant and Dutchtown. And it takes in part of Cherokee Street, one of St. Louis’ most eclectic business districts.

Tax credits | Flickr

Although Missouri’s state revenue collections dropped slightly in December, the state’s budget chief says plans are still on track for Gov. Jay Nixon to base his budget proposal on a hoped-for 4.1 percent income hike during the coming fiscal year.

Missouri Budget Director Dan Haug says Nixon and the General Assembly’s budget chairmen have tentatively agreed on that income growth estimate to use in crafting budgets. Based on the 4.1 percent hike,  $360 million in additional revenue should be available for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Sen. Joe Keaveny
Caleb Codding I St. Louis Public Radio

This week on the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Sen. Joe Keaveny to the program.

The St. Louis Democrat serves as the leader of the Senate Democratic caucus, a group that has consistently shrunk in numbers over the past few election cycles. But even though there's only eight members of his caucus in the 34-member Senate chamber, Keaveny and other Senate Democrats still have the power to block legislation as they see fit.

Jason Rosenbaum|St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis businessman John Brunner is celebrating New Year’s Eve by donating more than $3.6 million to his own Republican campaign for governor.

Brunner’s contribution, split among two checks this week, represents the largest Missouri donation so far, self-funded or not, to a single 2016 candidate. But he has spent more of his own money before.

Gov. Jay Nixon
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

As he heads into his final year in office and his last legislative session, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon prefers to focus on the positive.

That means highlighting the state’s balanced budgets and drop in unemployment, and downplaying his political battles with the Republican-controlled General Assembly or the criticisms lobbed his way during the unrest ignited by the Ferguson police shooting in August 2014.

Brenda Talent
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 the Show-Me Institute’s Brenda Talent to the program for the first time.

Talent is the CEO of the Show-Me Institute, which for roughly 10 years has served as the state’s premier “free market” think tank. A co-founder of the Show-Me Institute is retired financier Rex Sinquefield, one of Missouri’s largest political donors over the past decade.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, who’s among a crowd of Republicans running for governor next year, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum for the latest Politically Speaking podcast.

It's Kinder's second appearance on the show.

A native of Cape Girardeau, Kinder has been a major player in state politics for more than two decades, beginning with his 1992 election to a state Senate seat. He briefly considered a bid for state auditor in 1998.

Brent Jones / St. Louis Public Radio

Has Indianapolis’ massive merger with its suburbs back in the 1970s saved taxpayers tons of money? Or has the public’s voice been muted by the huge city government that’s replaced all the smaller ones?

Those questions, in effect, are among the topics of upcoming studies by CitiesStrong, a new nonprofit made up of at least a dozen  current and former local officials in St. Louis County.

Provided by campaign

Law professor Josh Hawley, now a Republican candidate for Missouri attorney general, is calling on the state’s legislative leaders to take action to protect opponents of same-sex marriage.

Hawley has sent a letter to House Speaker Todd Richardson, R-Poplar Bluff, and Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, R-Joplin, in which he asks them “to make sure religious liberty is at the top of the agenda’’ when the General Assembly reconvenes next month.

File photo

After months of mulling over the details, an unlikely coalition of convenience stores, gas stations and low-cost cigarette companies has hit the streets to collect signatures for a proposed 23-cent-a-pack hike in Missouri’s tobacco tax – now the nation’s lowest.

Under the initiative petition that the group began circulating this week, the estimated $100 million a year that the higher tax would raise would be designated for the state’s transportation needs.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Many candidates curtail their money-raising during the holidays, assuming that donors would prefer to focus on something other than politics.

Not so the two biggest money-raisers in Missouri’s heated 2016 contest for governor: Democrat Chris Koster and Republican Eric Greitens.

Democrats are in the super minority in both the Missouri House and the Missouri Senate.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

A new Missouri political action committee has launched a $1 million ad campaign targeting 20 Republicans in the Missouri House who voted against a proposed right-to-work law this fall.

The PAC is called The Committee for Accountable Government in Missouri. So far, all of its donations have come from members of the Humphreys family, which owns Tamko, a Joplin-based company that specializes in manufacturing residential and commercial roofing products.

Tommie Pierson
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 are pleased to welcome state Rep. Tommie Pierson to the program for the very first time.

The windows and the glass on the door of the Planned Parenthood clinic on South Grand Boulevard in St. Louis were shattered by a vandal on Saturday.
Stephanie Lecci | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated at 12 p.m. on December 12, 2015, with information on the arrest:

St. Louis police arrested a 43-year-old St. Louis woman in connection with an incident of vandalism at a Planned Parenthood clinic on South Grand Boulevard. 

Hillary Clinton St. Louis union Dec. 11 2015
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Instead of presenting a policy address, as initially billed, Hillary Clinton delivered the political red meat Friday night that her supporters crave.

“I’m going to defend our civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights, voting rights, workers rights,” the Democratic presidential hopeful declared to hundreds packing a St. Louis union hall.

The crowd’s cheers turned into a roar when Clinton added, “I will defend a woman’s right to choose! And I will defend Planned Parenthood!”

Steve Tilley and Jamilah Nasheed
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to host a special edition* of the show with former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley and Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.

(*From a technical standpoint, all Politically Speaking podcasts are recorded live and then disseminated throughout the Internet. But this week's show was recorded in front of an audience in St. Louis Public Radio's community room at Grand Center.)

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.
Flickr | McCaskill | April 2015

Drawing on her own unsettling experience as a college intern in the Missouri Capitol, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says she has donated $10,000 to help set up a special hotline for interns confronted by lawmakers’ sexual advances or other unwanted behavior.

McCaskill told reporters Thursday that she gave the money to the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She emphasized that it’s her own personal money, and not from taxpayers or campaign donors.

Amid no controversy or debate, the St. Louis County Council has unanimously approved a budget of almost $680 million for the fiscal year that begins January 1.

The seven-person council swiftly acted Tuesday night to grant final approval to a series of budget measures dealing with various county departments and programs. There was no discussion.

Hillary Clinton at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant June 23 2015.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s choice of a St. Louis union hall for Friday’s visit here fits in with her campaign pledge to focus on rebuilding the nation’s manufacturing base and the good-paying jobs that often go with it.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 3:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7 with comments from U.S. attorney - U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan, who heads the federal Justice Department's operation for Missouri's Eastern District, said Monday that neither Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder nor his current campaign "are the targets" in a probe of alleged financial irregularities regarding Kinder's campaign donations and spending.

"We are looking into it,'' Callahan said. "We do not have a time table at this point'' as to the length of the investigation.

Provided by campaign

Former state Rep. Judy Baker, a Democrat from Columbia, Mo., announced her 2016 bid for state treasurer with support from close to 50 current or former legislators around the state. Another Democrat, former federal official Pat Contreras of Kansas City, announced his bid last year.

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