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Politically Speaking: Rep. Smith Details Opposition To Transfer Bill

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

This week, St. Louis Public Radio's state Capitol reporter Marshall Griffin joins Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk with state Rep. Clem Smith.

The Velda Village Hills Democrat represents a number of small municipalities in St. Louis County, including most of the cities within the embattled Normandy School District. 

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Smith has been particularly outspoken against the legislation, now on Gov. Jay Nixon's desk, to change state’s school transfer policies. He’s been especially critical of the so-called “private option” allowing children in unaccredited districts to transfer to non-sectarian private schools, saying that that amounts to a voucher program.

During the show, Smith also said:

  • The “private option” would not help lower-income children because the amount of money that a child would get wouldn’t cover tuition at a private school.
  • Nixon should veto the bill and call a special session to address the issue.
  • Some Republicans decided not to vote for the bill in the House because they believed “public money should not be used for private education.”
  • He expects to see more legislation hostile to organized labor in the next legislative session. Smith works as a machinist at the Boeing Corp.
  • He’ll be supporting St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley in his re-election bid. Smith said the primary battle between Dooley and St. Louis County Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton, “didn’t have to happen.”

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter: @MarshallGReports

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.
Marshal was a political reporter for St. Louis Public Radio until 2018.

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