Claire McCaskill

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has ended months of speculation by declaring that she’s definitely not running for governor in 2016 and is endorsing Missouri Attorney Chris Koster instead.

“I have an amazing job. I am challenged every day,” McCaskill said in an interview Monday with host Steve Kraske on KCUR-FM, the public-radio station in Kansas City.

“I love the work, and so at the end of the day, you’ve got to decide. ‘Is the job that you’re thinking about going for, is it a better job than the one you have? And can you do more?’ ”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

With Republicans moving quickly to show Americans the GOP can be both productive and bipartisan in leading Congress, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said Wednesday that if Republicans go too far in amending the Keystone XL pipeline bill, she might be forced to abandon her support for the measure.

While McCaskill differs with President Barack Obama and many in her party in backing the pipeline, she said that she would look closely at amendments Republicans might add to the pipeline bill. 


From naming local post offices for fallen service members to changing the president’s signature health-care law, area lawmakers are beginning the 114th Congress ready to introduce a wide array of legislative proposals.

Every session of Congress sees far more bills introduced than could ever be considered, and most legislative proposals last only about as long as it takes a lawmaker to issue a news release announcing the bill’s introduction.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Were area members of Congress to sum up this session in a single word, that word would most likely be “Growler.”  The funding for 15 of Boeing’s high-tech E/A 18G Growlers, which are built in St. Louis, is included in the $1.1 trillion government funding package approved by the Senate over the weekend.

Support for the Growler is the one thing most frequently mentioned by Missouri lawmakers.  That bipartisan support helped secure nearly $1.5 billion to keep the Growler going through the end of 2017.

Blunt – Flickr/Gage Skidmore; McCaskill – Flickr/SenatorMcCaskill

Missouri’s U.S. senators – Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill – hold starkly different views on the release of the congressional report into the CIA’s actions in the detention and torture of some prisoners in the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Rex Sinquefield
Courtesy of Rex Sinquefield's website

(Updated 2:50 p.m. Tues., Dec . 9)

Wealthy financier Rex Sinquefield appears to have made his choice for Missouri’s next lieutenant governor:  Bev Randles, chairman of the Missouri Club for Growth.

Sinquefield is backing up his support with a $1 million check into Randles’ newly created exploratory committee, set up Monday. Randles says she will spend months talking to fellow Republicans to decide whether she has adequate support for a 2016 campaign.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon speaking Monday at a news conference before the grand jury announcement on Monday, Nov 25, 2014
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

Within minutes after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that the grand jury did not recommend that Darren Wilson face indictment for the shooting death of Michael Brown, reactions from area politicians came quickly. 

Before and after the grand jury’s decision was made public, area officials made clear Monday night that they understood the stakes.

DON"T USE TOO SMALL Claire McCaskill
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | File photo

With a notable exception, congressional reaction to President Barack Obama's decision to issue an executive order on immigration divided predictably along partisan lines.

Republicans universally panned Obama’s action as “lawless” and unconstitutional while Democrats, for the most part, praised and defended his decision to act where Congress has failed.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., issued a statement that managed to criticize both congressional inaction and the reliance on executive orders to address such an important and contentious issue.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

The president and his administration are maintaining regular contact with Missouri officials ahead of an announcement by the grand jury investigating the shooting of Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.

Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., told reporters this week that she spoke with President Barack Obama on Tuesday for what she described as a “full and complete discussion about a lot of issues surrounding Ferguson.”  She added that “I’m in contact with the Department of Justice every few days, encouraging them to continue their independent and complete investigation.”

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) says President Obama’s strategy on Iraq seems to be working and should be allowed more time to succeed. McCaskill, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, was a guest Sunday on “Face the Nation.”

When asked whether the U.S. should think about sending American troops into Iraq, the Missouri Democrat said she thinks air strikes have been effective in slowing ISIS down, and that she supports forming partnerships with moderate Sunnis.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she learned a lot from her unsuccessful run for governor in 2004.
Sen. McCaskill's Flickr page

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., joined a handful of other centrists-Democrats in voting against Nevada Sen. Harry Reid to be the caucus’ minority leader for the 114th Congress beginning in January. McCaskill said she made her decision in the wake of last week's election, which she said showed that Missouri voters want change.

Missouri Republican Party Chairman Ed Martin, left, lost elections for Congress and for attorney general. While those experiences can be instructive, he says losing sometimes "just plain stinks."
Courtesy of Ed Martin's Facebook page

When Ed Martin sent out an e-mail last week with the phrase “You’re A Loser” in the subject line, this writer thought the chairman of the Missouri Republican Party was being unneighborly.

In actuality, Martin – who, for full disclosure, lives in the same St. Louis neighborhood as I do – penned a  letter on how it feels to lose an election. Even though his party experienced a very successful mid-term election cycle, Martin wrote that not every Republican candidate is basking in the glow of victory -- and they probably aren't feeling that great right now.

Senate Democrats return to Washington Wednesday morning knowing that their time in the majority will expire in just a few weeks. 

The lame duck session starts Wednesday and ends before Christmas, with a Thanksgiving holiday in between. The new Congress, with its Senate Republican majority of 52 seats, starts shortly after the New Year. The House remains firmly in Republican hands.

Brigadier General James Robinson, left, pins a medal to Leo Hardin's suit coat as Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) looks on.
Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

A Korean War veteran from St. Louis received a Purple Heart and three other service awards Friday, six decades late.

Twice wounded during the war, Leo Hardin should have received a Purple Heart with a Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Infantry Badge, the National Defense Medal and the United Nations Service Medal when he left Korea in 1953. Hardin, a veteran of the Army's 2nd Infantry Division, served in Japan in the late 1940s as well as in Korea as Private First Class from 1950-1953.

Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

Actions often speak louder than words.

The region’s two major candidates for St. Louis County executive – Democrat Steve Stenger and Republican Rick Stream – play down any talk that their campaigns target women voters.

Both say they’re seeking support from any and all voters, regardless of gender, age, race or other demographics.

Michael Brown's parents, Michael Brown, Sr. (far left) and Lesley McSpadden (center) at a rally in August 2014.
Jason Rosenbaum |St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown's parents are renewing their call for a special prosecutor in the investigation into the fatal police shooting of their son citing "compelling and rising concerns of conflict."

In a letter written by their attorney, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., asked Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon on Monday to reconsider replacing St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch. Nixon declined to remove McCulloch when he had the power to do so during the state of emergency imposed during August's unrest.

Rebecca Smith/St. Louis Public Radio

As far as sexual assaults on a college campus are concerned, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says no news is definitely not good news.

McCaskill, D-Mo., came to Harris-Stowe State University Monday as part of her continuing efforts to strengthen colleges’ responses to sexual assault – responses that she says too often are half-hearted or, at their worst, harmful to the victim.

Events in Ferguson are drawing the attention of lawmakers in Washington, D.C.

“I don’t think the issues that have been raised by the incidents in Ferguson and the continuing unrest are going away anytime soon, and those issues really don’t start with Ferguson,” said Jim Howard, St. Louis Public Radio’s Washington, D.C., correspondent.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After the unrest in Ferguson, and the media images of highly equipped police, the “militarization” of police departments became a hot-button public policy issue.

After traveling the state on Monday, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt said law enforcement officials have told him there’s misinformation about the type of equipment used in Ferguson.

General Motors

General Motors says it will add a third shift and about 750 new jobs at its Wentzville Assembly plant in early 2015.

The new shift will help build two new midsize pickup truck models, the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. It will also produce the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans, which GM describes as solid sellers.

"It's our belief that this is a long-term add for the plant and a very bright future for all the people working here," said plant manager Nancy Laubenthal.

Thousands of early orders