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Government, Politics & Issues

Politically Speaking: Leader Hummel on MoDOT, Trump and legislature's final days

Jake Hummel
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Jake Hummel

JEFFERSON CITY - On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are on location in Jefferson City for the final week of this latest Missouri General Assembly’s session.  On Tuesday afternoon, the pair welcomed back House Minority Leader Jake Hummel to the program -- by stopping by his office.

Hummel has spent the last few years as the House Democratic leader. Since he entered the Missouri General Assembly in 2009, his caucus has shrunk dramatically – especially as GOP lawmakers took over previously Democratic districts across the state. There are now only 45 Democrats in the 163-member House.

His office features a large reproduction of a painting showing embattled George Custer surrounded by Indians. A headshot of Hummel has been superimposed over Custer.

Here’s what Hummel had to say during the show:

  • Hummel hopes the legislature will pass some sort of funding mechanism for the state’s transportation system, which he says has been woefully underfunded. “MoDOT has run out of money,” he said. “They had to dip into their reserves recently just to get their federal match. And we’re going to have to do something to fund our transportation system.”
  • Hummel has been unimpressed by some of the ethics bills that have passed through the General Assembly, including restrictions on when a lawmaker can become a lobbyist or a ban on legislators being political consultants.
  • He said that a big way to overhaul the state’s ethical environment is to reinstate campaign contribution limits, which could happen through an initiative petition this year. “If you really want ethics reform and you want to quit pretending that you’re not influenced, you have to put campaign contribution limits back on that Missouri voters approved,” he said.
  • Hummel said he’s overjoyed that Republicans nominated Donald Trump to be their presidential nominee, adding he thinks it will help Democrats in November.
  • Despite the challenges, Hummel has enjoyed his time in the General Assembly. That's why he has filed as a 2018 candidate for the Missouri Senate for the 4th District Senate seat held by Joe Keaveny, who cannot seek re-election because of term limits.
    Hummel stands next to a picture of "Custer's Last Stand." Hummel's face was taped to a picture of General Custer, who died at Little Big Horn.
    Credit Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
    Hummel stands next to a picture of Custer's Last Stand. Hummel's face was taped to a picture of General Custer, who died at Little Big Horn.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Jake Hummel on Twitter: @JacobHummel

Music: “Toxicity” by System of a Down

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