Politics | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A historic flood is already on the books for 2016 in the St. Louis region. What else will the year have in store for St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, who took office just a year ago?

Flickr | jimbowen0306)

The Missouri legislative session starts on January 6 and ends in mid-May. As politicians converge on Jefferson City prepared to debate bills in the state House of Representatives and Senate, “St. Louis on the Air” assembled a panel to discuss the upcoming session.

On Monday’s show, we discussed what’s likely to happen, what’s unlikely to happen and what to keep an eye on. Joining the show:

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Not all of the news that you see and hear featured on St. Louis Public Radio comes from the St. Louis region itself—some of it comes from our reporters located in Jefferson City and Washington D.C. That would be Marshall Griffin and Jim Howard, respectively.

On Monday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” the two discussed the year’s biggest news from our nation’s capital and the capital of Missouri. 

Here’s some of what they discussed:

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The past year was full of watershed political moments in St. Louis and the state of Missouri, but what will have the greatest implications for 2016? On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” host Don Marsh picked the brains of two people who know best: St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum, political reporters and hosts of the podcast Politically Speaking

Candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon pose following their 1960 presidential debate.
Associated Press via Wikimedia Commons

Washington University was recently tapped — for the sixth time — to host a presidential debate next October, when the current, far-flung battlefield of candidates will be distilled to a ring for just two opponents.

Though it seems a lifetime away, the extraordinary popularity of the more recent GOP primary debates has many — including all those St. Louisans who will scramble for tickets to the candidate face-off this time next year — wondering how the eventual presidential debates might look. And it has some wondering, why do we care? Do debates even matter?

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio
Medill DC | Flickr

House Speaker John Boehner’s surprise announcement that he will resign from the House at the end of October prompted quick responses from the area’s congressional delegation. Boehner, 65, was first elected to the House in 1991.

Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, joined other Republicans in praising Boehner's decision as a selfless act.

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

After bursting onto the Missouri political scene in 2004 during a daring bid to replace retiring U.S. Congressman Dick Gephardt, Jeff Smith seemed like he could do no wrong. His grassroots political campaign to launch from unknown into the U.S. House of Representatives is considered one of the most successful in history—even though he narrowly lost to Russ Carnahan. The critically-acclaimed documentary “Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?” followed that campaign. Smith went on to become a Missouri Senator, representing parts of St. Louis. 

Áine O'Connor

After the resignations of Rep. John Diehl, R-Town and Country, and Sen. Paul LeVota, D- Independence, earlier this year following realizations of sexually explicit texts and advances toward college-aged interns, the public’s eye has turned not just to the political decisions of Missouri lawmakers but the culture in Jefferson City as well.

Public faith in those serving the public good at the Capitol seems to have taken a serious hit.

Tear gas was used in Ferguson. Nov. 24 2014
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

A year after Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson and the unrest that ensued, many of the major political players continue to reassess, reappraise and reflect.

Provided by candidate

Amid their hunt for a bunch of statewide candidates, Missouri Democrats now have at least one well-known contender for secretary of state:  former KMOV reporter Robin Smith.

Smith, who just retired from her 40-year TV career, announced Sunday that she plans to run for the statewide post — which will be open in the 2016 election because Democratic incumbent Jason Kander for running for the U.S. Senate.

Engelhardt portrait
Aaron Doerr

Tom Engelhardt, longtime political cartoonist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his book “Four Turbulent Decades: A Cartoon History of America.” The book includes some of Engelhardt’s illustrations of major events and eras in America, such as the Civil Rights movement, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and 9/11 events.

Professors of political science Ken Warren of SLU (left) and Dave Robertson of UMSL (middle) joined St. Louis Public Radio's Jo Mannies (right) and host Don Marsh.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday, “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh led a discussion about the role Missouri might play during the 2016 Presidential Election. Joining Marsh were St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies, University of Missouri-St. Louis political science professor David Robertson, and Saint Louis University political science professor Ken Warren.

Steve Stenger
File photo by Alex Heuer | St. Louis Public Radio

It has been six months since St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger took office after winning a close race against Rick Stream.

Rodolfo Martinez\NBC

Seth Meyers joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his work as a comedian, actor and television host, as well as his appearance Friday at the Peabody Opera House.

Meyers’ performance will include humorous puns on his personal life and political anecdotes about politicians, such as Texas governor Rick Perry.

“The more personalities in the presidential election, the easier and better it is for people like me,” Meyers joked.

Former East St. Louis mayor Alvin Parks, Jr. joined "St. Louis on the Air" host Don Marsh.
Alex Heuer / St. Louis Public Radio

Alvin Parks, Jr. joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh to discuss his two terms as mayor of East St. Louis and his plans for the future.

Councilwoman Emeka Jackson-Hicks unseated Parks in the April 7 election. After a court order removed his name from the ballot, Parks was forced to wage a write-in campaign. Jackson-Hicks is the daughter of Democratic state Rep. Eddie Lee Jackson. She was sworn into office on Monday.

     

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri Legislative session will end in two weeks and many issues remain unsolved. “St. Louis Public Radio” statehouse reporter Marshall Griffin is following the progress. He joined “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh Tuesday with updates.

Much of the session revolved around improving community policing.

Here is a list of legislative topics discussed during the interview:

Sen. McCaskill's Flickr Page

Clearer skies might hang on the political horizon with the swearing in of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, but matters are not all clear just yet between Republicans and Democrats.

On Monday, Mo. Senator Claire McCaskill told St. Louis on the Air host, Don Marsh, that in order to achieve more heights, both parties must be willing to compromise. With a number of politicians from the Republican Party running for president, McCaskill says that matters of the here-and-now may become distracted. Those matters include a highway bill and the debt ceiling, among others.

Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton
Parth Shah | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

During his first 100 days in office, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger  has attracted more attention for what he won’t do.

  • He won’t advocate for some sort of reunification of the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County.
  • The county won’t help bankroll some of the costs of a proposed new stadium.

As spring flowers push their way up at the site where Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August, thoughts around the tragedy are also emerging as more pointed questions.

What institutionalized forces may have contributed to the shooting? How has it changed the St. Louis region? Will that continue? St. Louis Public would like to hear from you. (Scroll down to the end of this post to send us your questions.)

Gubernatorial hopful Henry Lee Neale  (Stephen Peirick) and his wife Elizabeth Neale (Maggie Conroy) are all smiles.
Provided by OnSite Theatre

Missouri’s next gubernatorial election is a year and a half away, but a St. Louis play gets a rolling jump-start on the campaign.

The OnSite Theatre comedy, called “Off the Record,” opens this Friday and runs for two weekends. The play by Alec Wild takes place aboard a moving school bus that delivers a fictitious candidate — and the audience — to a handful of local campaign stops.

Artistic director Ann Marie Mohr said that even the ticket-holders have an active part in the show.

Cornell University political science professor and author Suzanne Mettler 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

Millions of students are enrolled in college, but graduation rates are uneven. Why? Author Suzanne Mettler says political squabbling is to blame.

Mettler, a political science professor at Cornell University, has written a book that lays out the problem and its solution: “Degrees of Inequality: The Demise of Opportunity in Higher Education and How to Restore the American Dream.”

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.

Ed Martin talks about his work as chairman of the Missouri Republican Party, and his new job as president of the Eagle Forum with 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh  on Feb. 12, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Ed Martin may be leaving his position as Missouri Republican Party chairman, but he’s still toeing the party line. Martin is now the president of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, a conservative interest group.

voxefxtm | Flickr

As the calendar turns to 2015, the national political scene is already focusing on 2016. As politicians set up strategies and start to explore their options the baseline concerns are who will vote and how will they cast their ballots? To answer these questions, one must look at patterns. Generally speaking, the party that does not hold the presidency scores some gains. This time the gains were substantial enough to turn the Senate over to the Republicans and to keep that party dominant in statehouses across the country.

John C. Danforth
Washington University

American politics is not working very well today, but religion can play a role in helping to move it away from partisanship and back to a spirit of compromise.

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.

Wikipedia

Political dysfunction has been bandied about for several years, but its meaning remains unclear. That’s the first order of business Friday at the Political Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

“One of the reasons that we decided to do the conference was precisely because everyone complains about political dysfunction, but you ask five different people what it is and you’ll get five different answers,” Wally Siewert, director of UMSL’s Center for Ethics in Public Life, told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday.

Public Radio Reporters Review Tuesday's Election

Nov 5, 2014
St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we gathered our political reporters to recap Tuesday’s election. The consensus: Republicans ruled the night.

“It was a Republican bloodbath, nationally and regionally,” said Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter. “But it also shows that St. Louis County is definitely Democratic turf because the only two Democratic candidates — big names — who remained standing were Steve Stenger and Jill Schupp.”

Former U.S. Senator Addresses Political Dysfunction

Oct 29, 2014
Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine
Courtesy of Olympia Snowe

U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe cited partisanship when she announced her retirement in 2012.

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