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

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.

stock photo
Kurhan | sxc.hu

Legislative leaders and anti-abortion activists are making it clear that abortion regulations – and Planned Parenthood -- are likely to be among the top issues for many Missouri lawmakers when they return to the state Capitol in a few weeks.

Meanwhile, area allies of Planned Parenthood say they’re fighting back – beginning with a rally planned for Saturday outside its midtown St. Louis clinic.

Jeanette Mott Oxford
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio’s political duo of Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomes Jeanette Mott Oxford, head of Empower Missouri, as our guest on the latest edition of the Political Speaking podcast.

Oxford is a former Democratic legislator from St. Louis and has been active for more than 25 years in anti-poverty and social-justice organizations.

Empower Missouri is the latest moniker for a progressive advocacy group that’s been around since 1901 under various names.  Most recently, the organization was  known as the Missouri Association for Social Welfare.

This radiation warning sign is one of many posted on the chain link fence surrounding part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.
Sarah Skiold-Hanlin | St. Louis Public Radio

In the mid-1960s, trucks carrying radioactive waste left over from World War II began lumbering along the then-dirt road leading to what’s now the West Lake landfill.

The waste was moved to the site — then deemed remote enough from humans — over more than a decade. Federal authorities denied that the yellow “dirt” contained radioactive radium and uranium.

Even the truck drivers — some of whom later died of cancer — didn’t know what they were transporting for years.

Missouri Sen. Bob Dixon, R-Springfield
Official photo

Missouri’s crowded GOP contest for governor has lost a participant, as state Sen. Bob Dixon is dropping out.

The departure of Dixon, R-Springfield, isn’t entirely unexpected. He was at the bottom of the pack when it came to fundraising. His last campaign finance report showed him with less than $83,000 in the bank.

Paul Curtman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum welcome back state Rep. Paul Curtman to the program.

The Republican, from Union in Franklin County, first burst onto the scene in 2010, when he pulled off an upset against then-state Rep. Michael Frame, D-Eureka. Curtman’s victory was often spotlighted as a sign of strength for the “Tea Party” movement in Missouri, especially since the Marine Corps veteran gained notoriety in speaking out against President Barack Obama’s health-care law.

Map of the West Lake Landfill
Provided by the EPA

A rare bipartisan coalition of the region’s two members of the U.S. House and both of Missouri’s U.S. senators has filed legislation to transfer authority for the West Lake landfill from the Environmental Protection Action to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-University City, and Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, have filed a bill in the House. Sens. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., have filed a companion measure in the Senate.

Kurt Schaefer 2014 mo senator gop dist 19 columbia
Official photo

Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer, a Republican candidate for attorney general, suspects that a disparaging story in Middle East-based Al Jazeera may be tied to a death threat that has prompted him to temporarily close his office in the state Capitol.

Schaefer, R-Columbia, said in an interview Tuesday night that the  article by Al Jazeera's U.S. affiliate – which appeared online last week -- contained “inflammatory stuff” as part of its critical coverage into his recent probes of ties between the University of Missouri and Planned Parenthood.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and four of Missouri’s GOP candidates for governor are expected to be in Las Vegas this week for at least some of the two-day gathering of the Republican Governors Association.

The association’s annual conference is set for Wednesday and Thursday at the Encore Las Vegas, a luxury resort, casino and hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.

Ryan Johnson
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 Missouri Alliance for Freedom’s Ryan Johnson to the program for the first time.

presidential candidates 2016
Wikipedia

With Missouri’s presidential primary just four months away, the state’s Republicans are already pumped up.

And Missouri Democrats are hoping to follow suit.

Attorney General Chris Koster is the likely Democratic nominee for governor.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

For Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, being the target of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg may not be so bad.

Bloomberg’s PAC, Independence USA, says it’s spending hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next few weeks on a statewide TV ad campaign that blasts Koster for “fighting Obama and clean energy.” But in a state that backed Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 over President Barack Obama by 260,000 votes, such an attack might be welcome news for a Democrat.

jack coatar
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This week's Politically Speaking podcast with Alderman Jack Coatar includes discussion about a new football stadium on the riverfront. He is sponsoring the bill laying out the financial plan for the proposed stadium, which Mayor Francis Slay and others hope will persuade the Rams to remain in St. Louis – or attract another NFL team.

Earlier today, 15th Ward Democrats President Richard Buthod said there’s widespread public skepticism about publicly financing stadiums. His group released results from a poll showing overwhelming opposition to city taxpayer dollars going to sporting facilities.

The five GOP contenders for governor: Peter Kinder, Eric Greitens, Catherine Hanaway, Bob Dixon and John Brunner
St. Louis Public Radio file photos

Missouri’s five declared Republican candidates for governor hold similar views on most issues – but not, it seems, on when they all should share the same stage.

The state Republican Party says it tried and failed to reach an agreement with the five on a plan – posed by state party chairman John Hancock – to hold a series of no more than eight Republican-sponsored forums or debates around the state.

Former Gov. Bob Holden
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 former Gov. Bob Holden, who held office from 2001-2005. This is part of an informal series where the journoduo attempts to interview all of the Show-Me State’s former chief executives about their time in office.

stacks of money
sxc.hu

Since taking office in 2009, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has regularly called for stricter ethics laws for public officials – and a return of the state’s campaign-donation limits, which were repealed in 2008.

For the most part, Republican legislative leaders have supported the general idea of limiting lobbyists’ gifts or curbing the legislator-to-lobbyist revolving door. But neither the governor nor lawmakers have put much political muscle behind their proposals.

The coming legislative session – Nixon’s last before leaving office -- may be different.

The five GOP contenders for governor: Peter Kinder, Eric Greitens, Catherine Hanaway, Bob Dixon and John Brunner
St. Louis Public Radio file photos

In their first joint appearance, Missouri’s five major Republican candidates made clear that they agree on the key moves deemed necessary to move the state forward.

Among their shared views:

  • Fewer regulations;
  • Lower taxes;
  • Limits on lawsuits;
  • Restrictions on abortion;
  • Enacting a “right to work’’ law to curb union rights.

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