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Politically Speaking: Jane Dueker Describes Journey Through Politics And Policy

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Politically Speaking is shifting gears this summer. With the legislature out of session, and the August primary on the horizon, we've decided to interview some of the state’s most prominent political consultants who play key roles behind the scenes.

This week, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcomed St. Louis lawyer Jane Dueker to the show. 

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While Dueker may not be a household name, she worked in the Missouri attorney general’s office (alongside then-staff colleague Chris Koster)  and later was chief of staff for then-Gov. Bob Holden. The St. Louis native served during a tumultuous time in Democratic politics -- when Republicans had taken over both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly and Holden was under political siege.

Dueker eventually returned to the private sector after Holden left office, joining the law firm now known as Stinson Leonard Street. She has been involved in high-profile legal cases, including lawsuits against St. Louis County’s trash program and a proposed St. Louis ballot initiative aimed at Peabody Energy.

On the show, Dueker said:

  • Her first public service job was in then-Attorney General Bill Webster’s office. The Republican officeholder eventually went to prison after he lost to Democrat Mel Carnahan in the 1992 gubernatorial contest. 
  • She faced an “unbelievably challenging” experience being chief of staff when Republicans completed their takeover of the Missouri General Assembly. Despite some very public battles, Dueker emphasized that Holden and the GOP majorities were able to accomplish some important initiatives.
  • Holden’s decision to place a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage on the August ballot severely complicated his re-election chances. Holden went on to lose to then-Auditor Claire McCaskill in the Democratic primary.
  • Her experience in the private sector and government gave her plenty of insight in building her “governmental solutions” practice at Stinson Leonard Street. “The beauty of all the experience that I’ve had has helped me because it gives me a lot of tools to solve the problem,” she said.
  • After initially supporting him, she grew more and more disenchanted with St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley’s administration. Dueker is now supporting Councilman Steve Stenger’s bid to upend Dooley in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary.

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Jane Dueker on Twitter: @janedueker

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.

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