Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

Ganga Mongar, left, and Sancha Subba, right, receive help from Mongar's daughter Anjali while practicing for the writing portion of the naturalization test. Both women have learned how to read and write to prepare for the test.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Ganga Mongar’s pencil is covered in hearts and a pink eraser cap. She taps it on the table as she reels off the names of the Supreme Court justices. She’s is in her mid-40s, a mother of five, and a student at the St. Louis International Institute, where she’s enrolled in the Literacy Citizenship Preparation course. She comes three times a week for two hours, where, in addition to being drilled on U.S. civics, she’s learning how to read and write in English.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and then-St. Louis interim Police Chief Larry O'Toole address reporters on Saturday, September 16, 2017.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

A former candidate in the running to become the police chief of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department last year has alleged employment discrimination by the city of St. Louis.

St. Louis Police Lt. Col. Larry O'Toole filed a complaint with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights and another with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging employment discrimination.

14th District state Senate candidates Sharon Pace, Brian Williams and Joe Adams speak at a candidate forum at Beyond Housing. July 17, 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In many respects, Missouri’s 14th Senate District is one of the most challenging legislative seats to represent.

With some of the state’s richest and poorest cities, the central and north St. Louis County-based district has been ground zero for high profile education and environmental issues. It also includes Ferguson, which became a national focal point for relations between police and African-Americans.

The St. Louis County Council continued its fight with County Executive Steve Stenger July 18, 2018, overriding three vetoes.
Jo Mannies | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council has overridden three more of County Executive Steve Stenger’s vetoes — part of a longstanding fight over power.

But the stakes may be heightened, as the Aug. 7 primary looms.

Council Chairman Sam Page, a fellow Democrat, said after Tuesday’s votes that the members want to hold Stenger accountable.

St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger is heading into the final weeks of his primary campaign with a hefty financial edge over Democratic rival Mark Mantovani as the two continue their expensive battle on TV.

And now, U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, is joining them by also going on TV, even though she is expected to easily win the Republican primary.

Wagner’s decision to run ads before the Aug. 7 primary is notable – especially since she didn’t run any TV spots in 2016, according to her campaign staff.

R. Marie Griffith is the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University.
Randall Kahn

A few weeks after the #MeToo movement first gained traction in October 2017, a related hashtag also began appearing on social media: #ChurchToo. It quickly caught the attention of Marie Griffith, a faculty member at Washington University who was raised Southern Baptist.

For Griffith, who leads the university’s John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, the idea that sexual harassment and assault occur within Christian faith communities wasn’t new. What was different was the growing spotlight on the problem. In some cases, the outcry led to the resignation of powerful pastors who had abused victims for decades.

Washington University's Brookings Hall
Washington University | Flickr

Updated at 2:20 p.m. on July 17 with information on the city's apology. Updated on July 16 at 4:15 p.m. with comment from Clayton Police Chief  – Washington University asked the city of Clayton to apologize to 10 black incoming freshmen for an incident on July 7, and the city has complied.

The city posted a statement including the apology on its website.

CEO Bob Chapman, right, talks to an employee at a Barry-Wehmiller factory.
Provided by Barry-Wehmiller

Barry-Wehmiller’s leadership philosophy is spelled out on a wall outside the company’s parking garage in Clayton. Employees and visitors see it, coming and going:

“We imagine a society in which people care about each other first.”

All states experienced an increase in the percentage of interracial and interethnic married-couple households from 2000 to 2012-2016.
U.S. Census Bureau

The rate of interracial marriages in Missouri is increasing at a rate slower than other states, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report.

Results from the American Community Survey show the percentage of interracial married-couple households increased from 7.4 to 10.2 percent between 2000 and 2012-2016 nationwide.

File Photo. Alderman Terry Kennedy says the delay in naming a St. Louis poet laureate could stretch into next year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Supporters of a measure that would reverse a planned reduction in the number of aldermanic wards in St. Louis will use the Board of Aldermen’s summer break to get more support lined up for their bill.

Aldermen adjourned Friday until Sept. 7 without giving final approval to two charter changes. One would eliminate the residency requirement for most city employees — the other would put the 2012 ward reduction back in front of voters.

St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies offered analysis in light of the formal complaint filed by state Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City).
File photo | Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh got an update from St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies on the latest news concerning former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens.

Mannies reported Tuesday that state Rep. Jay Barnes (R-Jefferson City) had filed a formal complaint with the Missouri Ethics Commission. It accuses Greitens of intentionally skirting election laws.

Union members gathered at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Hall on Aug. 8, 2017, to notarize and turn in petitions to force a statewide vote over Missouri’s right-to-work law.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

This week’s election edition of Politically Speaking looks into the referendum over Missouri’s right-to-work law — and the GOP primary for state auditor.

Besides the U.S. Senate contest, the right-to-work fight and GOP auditor race will be on every Missouri primary ballot on Aug. 7. And both matters could have long-term ramifications for the state’s politics.

Attorney Al Watkins speaks with reporters outside the Carnahan Courthouse in downtown St. Louis following a hearing. March 26, 2018.
File photo I Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A key figure in the legal saga of former Gov. Eric Greitens wants a different judge to decide whether he ran afoul of a gag order.

Al Watkins represented the ex-husband of the woman with whom Greitens had an affair. During Greitens’ invasion-of-privacy trial, St. Louis Circuit Judge Rex Burlison restricted attorneys of possible witnesses from talking with the media.

Carly and Alex Garcia meet with U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay at Christ Church in Maplewood on May 25, 2018. Alex Garcia has been living in sanctuary at the church since September.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay is calling on federal immigration officials to approve a stay of removal for Alex Garcia, who took sanctuary in a Maplewood church nearly 10 months ago.

Garcia, 37, moved into the church in September after immigration officials ordered him to report for deportation. A stay of removal would give Garcia temporary permission to remain in the United States and allow him to move back to his home in Poplar Bluff.

St. Louis County's first chief diversity officer is Jack L. Thomas Jr.
St. Louis County

Hiring a chief diversity officer was a key recommendation of the recent disparity study commissioned by St. Louis County.

Jack L. Thomas Jr., a veteran of the workforce diversity and improvement profession, has been tapped to fill the position.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contribute to the process of developing a culture of inclusiveness within St. Louis County government, with the goal of growing sustainable minority- and women-owned business enterprises,” Thomas said in a statement.

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Four months before the November election, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill is deploying her massive fundraising edge over GOP rival Josh Hawley to dramatically outspend him.

Since April 1, McCaskill has spent close to $3.6 million in her Democratic bid for a third term. That’s almost four times state Attorney General Hawley’s spending, which was just under $1 million.

Lawyers Kalilah Jackson and Sandra Park led a discussion in Maplewood informing residents of the city's nuisance ordinance.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Maplewood residents, equal-housing advocates and lawyers participated in a community discussion Wednesday about Maplewood’s controversial public-nuisance ordinance.

The event was organized by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council (EHOC) and the ACLU of Missouri to inform Maplewood residents of their legal rights and encourage residents to urge state and local lawmakers to change nuisance laws. 

Cole County Circuit Judge Patricia Joyce on Monday administered the oath of office to Mike Kehoe inside the governor's office in Jefferson City
Courtesy of Harrison Sweazea Photography

Updated July 12 with brief response from plaintiffs' attorney - A Cole County judge has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the appointment of Mike Kehoe as Missouri’s lieutenant governor.

In a ruling issued late Wednesday, Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem said that Gov. Mike Parson had the authority to appoint fellow Republican Kehoe to the state’s No. 2 office, under the Missouri Constitution.

Missouri state Rep. Gina Mitten
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri state Rep. Gina Mitten returns to the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about serving on the committee that investigated former Gov. Eric Greitens.

The Richmond Heights Democrat represents Missouri’s 83rd District, which includes portions of St. Louis and eastern St. Louis County. She is running unopposed in 2018 for what will be her last term in the Missouri House.

Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Republican chairman of the now-defunct House panel that investigated then-Gov. Eric Greitens has filed a formal complaint with the state Ethics Commission accusing Greitens of running an illegal shadow campaign operation to avoid the state’s campaign-donation laws.

“With the ethics complaint that has been filed based on the work of the House investigative committee, the Missouri Ethics Commission has overwhelming evidence to conclude that Eric Greitens, his campaign committee and affiliated dark-money organization broke state campaign-finance laws,” said Democratic committee members Gina Mitten and Tommie Pierson Jr.

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