Courtney Curtis | St. Louis Public Radio

Courtney Curtis

State Rep. Courtney Curtis says policymakers should have been making developing north St. Louis County a priority from the beginning.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:50 p.m. — Missouri state Rep. Courtney Curtis is blaming two thefts and bank errors for campaign-finance problems that prompted the Missouri Ethics Commission to fine him more than $114,000.

Curtis, a Democrat from Berkeley, says he is appealing the commission’s allegations, which were issued Friday, that he violated various campaign finance laws and improperly used some campaign money for personal expenses.

Michael Brown Sr. stands at the back of the Ferguson Community Center's event space during the public comment portion of a 2016 Ferguson city council meeting.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Since the presidential campaign began in earnest, it’s become fairly common for candidates to allude to the aftermath of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of a Ferguson police officer.

But according to officials that represent Ferguson, neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump has visited the city since announcing their presidential bids. And with both candidates set to debate Sunday at Washington University, some of the city’s elected leaders say it’s time for Trump and Clinton to see the town for themselves.

Courtney Curtis
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum is joined by colleague Stephanie Lecci and St. Louis American reporter Rebecca Rivas. The trio welcomed state Rep. Courtney Curtis to the show for the first time.

The Ferguson Democrat won a competitive primary last week for re-election. Because winning the Democratic primary in his north St. Louis County-based district is tantamount to election, Curtis will likely get to serve a third term in the Missouri House after 2017.

Candidates line up to file for state offices Tuesday in Jefferson City.
Mallory Daily I St. Louis Public Radio

While the showdown that may give joy to political junkies is between Attorney General Chris Koster and walking meme Leonard Steinman for Democratic gubernatorial nomination, some serious contests will demand voters' attention this year.

Many of the most potentially competitive races will be in the St. Louis area, a place where a number of state House seats will be open due to term limits.

University of Missouri system President Mike Middleton prepares to testify Wednesday before the Joint Committee on Education.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

After nationally watched protests over race relations and the departure of key officials, the leaders of the University of Missouri system promised lawmakers that change is on the way.

But legislators on the Joint Committee on Education questioned whether the four-campus system’s direction was truly righted – especially since a controversial professor is still employed at Mizzou.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III prepares to hand a resolution to a city resident. Knowles reflected on how his city's changed since Michael Brown's death earlier this week.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

In a year filled with trials and tribulations that few municipal officials face in a lifetime, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles learned quite a bit.

Throughout the 12 months that followed Michael Brown’s death at the hands of a former Ferguson police officer, Knowles said his city found out the hard way how important it is for a government to communicate with its residents. Just because somebody doesn’t speak up at a council meeting or through an e-mail, Knowles said, doesn’t mean “there aren’t issues out there that need to be addressed.”

A focus group moderator writes down participants' thoughts on racial and ethnic relations in St. Louis, after a meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

After months of deliberation and debate, the Ferguson Commission produced roughly 200 initial recommendations — an ambitious output for an entity charged with the job of issuing a report.

But Bethany Johnson-Javoism, the Commission's managing director, said the group’s “calls to action” are purposefully aspirational.

State Rep. Courtney Curtis, left, and St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby speak a news conference last year. Curtis is sponsoring "right to work" legislation aimed at construction unions, which he contends haven't done enough to bring minori
File photo by Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

When it comes to having a “big tent” for its members, Missouri Democrats have talked the talk – and walked the walk. 

It’s been almost trendy to talk about Ferguson’s young leaders lately, but youth leadership and community involvement is nothing new in the Ferguson area. For nearly four years, the Ferguson Youth Initiative has worked to connect teens and young adults with community events and opportunities.