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McCaskill says her chances of beating cancer appear excellent

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., has promised to help get a contribution limit measure on next year's ballot. But other Democratic officials have promised such a move and haven't delivered.
Courtesy of Claire McCaskill's Flickr

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says she is embracing her job — and her constituents — with a vengeance now that she’s back at work after spending several weeks in treatment for breast cancer.

Next week, she expects to barnstorm the state with a series of stops to highlight her concerns about the rising cost of college education, and what the government might be able to do to help.

But first, she has a few words of gratitude for “the literally hundreds of Missourians who reached out to me over the last three weeks .”

“I’ve heard from a lot of important people,’’ McCaskill told reporters in a conference call Monday. “But the cards and letters I’ve received from Missourians, many of whom I’ve never met personally, were what lifted me.”

The senator, who lives in Kirkwood, said she also owes much to the physicians and nurses at the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis.

She says a routine mammogram detected her cancer at an early stage. “I had a lumpectomy and then follow-up treatment, and the doctors are very positive that my prognosis is very good.”

McCaskill did want to re-emphasize that she obtains her health insurance through the federal exchange available to many Americans, and gets no “special insurance,” as some constituents may wrongly believe.

NGA, Backpage.com now on her agenda

Within days, McCaskill hopes to seek Senate action that would enforce civil contempt proceedings against Carl Ferrer, chief executive officer of Backpage.com.

Ferrer failed to comply with a Senate subpoena a few months back to testify before a Senate panel, of which McCaskill is a member. The panel is looking into allegations that Backpage, a web site, allows advertisements tied to the illegal sex trafficking of underage girls and boys.

McCaskill also notes that she is involved in a Senate probe of the rising illegal use of opiods, many of them in prescription drugs, and heroin.

McCaskill also is involved with other Missouri members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats, who are lobbying for the federal government to choose a site in north St. Louis for the new $1.75 billion facility for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

The rival Illinois location is 182 rural acres in St. Clair County near Scott Air Force Base.

McCaskill says St. Louis needs the facility. The spy agency currently is housed in smaller quarters just south of downtown.

“That cornfield in Illinois is not going to be any worse off if NGA doesn’t go there. But it will have, I think, a negative effect on St. Louis if we are not selected,” she said.

Although President Barack Obama previously was a senator representing Illinois, and has a home in Chicago, McCaskill said, “I have gotten no indication from the president that he favors Illinois.”

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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