Politics & Issues

Political news

Missouri appears to be well on its way to recovery from the recession. By working hard, investing in infrastructure and having a strong food produce manufacturing sector, the state has been able to lower its unemployment rate nearly a percentage point below the national average. Local elected officials have encouraged a business-friendly atmosphere and, despite budget shortfalls, avoided the urge to raise taxes. Unfortunately, proposals being considered by the federal government could trip up the Show Me State’s progress.

Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert E. Parks announced today that he will not be filing criminal charges against state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, who is accused of assaulting the campaign manager of a rival Republican in this summer's nasty contest for the 26th District state Senate seat.

The altercation allegedly took place in Nieves' campaign office on Aug. 4, the day after he won the nomination. Nieves currently is the heavy favorite to win the Senate seat in the Nov. 2 election.

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Robin Carnahan is breaking with the White House on another issue, by opposing President Barack Obama's proposal to spend $50 billion on infrastructure projects.

She also launched Friday another negative ad against her Republican rival, U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, who spent the day traveling around rural parts of the state with Missouri Farm Bureau President Charlie Kruse.

Beware bloggers. The copyright trolls are on the loose, and apparently they’re gaining support. Last week, a Las Vegas-based company, Righthaven LLC, gained a second client in its campaign to sue bloggers for reposting clips of published, online news content.

On Labor Day, President Barack Obama unveiled a $50 billion plan that he said would create more jobs and energize a lackluster economy. It will do neither.

The Spending Revolt Bus

The Spending Revolt National Bus Tour, which is financed by a number of conservative groups, will stop by the Gateway Arch at noon on Sunday -- just as area Tea Party activists arrive for their 9/12 rally aimed at energizing the movement for the coming Nov. 2 election.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, is to headline a Clayton town hall that the Spending Revolt tour will be holding at 6 p.m. Sunday at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza hotel, 7730 Bonhomme.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., today condemned the plans of a Florida pastor, Terry Jones, to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday, the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. McCaskill made her remarks in response to a question at a news conference today on local veterans’ issues.

"I don't know how anybody in the name of God would want to endanger the lives of American soldiers," the senator said, referring to the outcry already underway among some Muslims abroad.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and Republican rival Bill Corrigan sharpened their attacks today during their second public forum, held over lunch before members of the Northwest Chamber of Commerce.

Dooley, a Democrat in office since 2003, accused Corrigan of "having something to hide'' because the latter has declined to release his personal income tax returns, as the county executive did last week.

Corrigan, in turn, accused Dooley of improperly spending county money on "$150,000-a-year consultants'' and opinion polls.

We’re doubly excited about the Beacon’s recently announced plan to add a Washington correspondent.

The reporter will add breadth and depth to the Beacon’s already strong coverage of issues and politics that affect our region. And he or she will appear as well on St. Louis Public Radio in a new partnership. The Beacon’s goal is to reach people where they are in ways they find most useful and convenient, and this arrangement will help us deliver.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., appeared to exude more optimism today about St. Louis' chances of landing a transit hub with China than she was about her party's chances in this fall's election.

Addressing members of the St. Louis Chamber and Growth Association, McCaskill said that the latest talks with China indicate Lambert Field should be seeing two Chinese cargo flights a week by next summer.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie -- arguably the most popular Republican now running a Democratic-dominated state -- will be campaigning in Missouri on Wednesday for GOP U.S. Senate nominee Roy Blunt.

Although, technically, Christie won't be in the state. He will join Blunt via teleconference, as they address Blunt volunteers gathered in campaign sites around the state.

(From left) Rick Firebaugh, John Boehner and Ed Martin
with permission from the Ed Martin campaign

U.S. House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, may not have been seen during last weekend's visit to Missouri, but both parties hope he'll be heard.

Boehner headlined private fundraising events:

U.S. Rep. Roy Blunt, Missouri's Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate, marked Labor Day by launching a new ad that focuses on jobs and features the owner of a St. Louis dry-cleaning store.

But arguably more significantly, the ad includes what the GOP believes may be a magic word this election season: Obama.

"Robin Carnahan supports the Obama agenda. I don't,'' says Blunt in the ad, referring to his Democratic rival.

Sherman George and Francis Slay
File photo

Former St. Louis Fire Chief Sherman George in the past has been at odds with Mayor Francis Slay over some things -- but the two share opposition to Proposition A, the statewide ballot proposal to bar or restrict local earnings taxes.

In St. Louis and Kansas City, which now impose an earnings tax, Proposition A would require citywide votes every five years to sustain the tax. All other communities in the state would be barred from imposing such a tax on income.

St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green says she will campaign against Proposition A and will help raise money to defeat the Nov. 2 statewide ballot proposal, which would bar Missouri communities from imposing earnings taxes, and require local authorization votes in the two cities that already have them: St. Louis and Kansas City.

Green says she plans to "speak out against Proposition A on Oct. 1 during her keynote address at the annual Workers Rights Board breakfast."

Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft is leading a host of prominent Missouri Republicans, past and present, who are headlining a Sept. 27 statewide blitz of fundraising events on behalf of GOP state auditor nominee Tom Schweich.

Schweich said today he hopes to raise $500,000 over the day, which includes a breakfast in Kansas City, a lunch in Springfield, Mo., and dinner in St. Louis.

In Missouri's increasingly bitter contest for the U.S. Senate, Republican Roy Blunt is bringing in some big guns while Democrat Robin Carnahan is countering with a big shot.

Blunt, a congressman from southwest Missouri, is traveling around outstate Missouri on Friday with top officials with the National Rifle Association as part of an apparent move to elevate the social-issue planks like gun rights that help energize conservative Republicans -- especially in rural Missouri.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says a statewide proposal that could lead to the end of the city's earnings tax "will most assuredly win in November" and he is concentrating his efforts and resources on the subsequent vote in April in the city only.

In an interview with the Beacon, the mayor said, "I'm going to do everything I can to make sure that the earnings tax isn't eliminated unless and until there is a plan to replace it."

A hearing on a request for a full order of protection against state Rep. Brian Nieves, R-Washington, has been postponed again -- this time at the request of Nieves' attorney.

Shawn Bell, a campaign worker for one of Nieves' opponents in the Aug. 3 Republican primary in the 26th state Senate District, has accused Nieves of threatening his life and brandishing a weapon during an encounter the day after the election. Nieves has called the Bell's claims "preposterous."

Missouri's decline in state income may be coming to an end. The figures released today by state Budget Director Linda Luebbering show that state government saw a slight uptick in revenue collections for August, compared to a year ago: $594 million last month, compared to $589.5 million a year ago.

Although up only $4.5 million, the 0.8 percent increase comes after close to two years of monthly declines -- many of them in double digits.