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Politically Speaking: Why Sen. Ryan Silvey doesn't expect GOP to be 'clones' on contentious issues

Sen. Ryan Silvey in February 2017
Marshall Griffin I St. Louis Public Radio
Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome state Sen. Ryan Silvey back to the program.

The Kansas City Republican recently won re-election to represent a district that includes most of Clay County.

Before he was elected to the Missouri House in 2005, Silvey was a staffer for then-Sen. Kit Bond. Silvey served as the House Budget Committee chairman before winning election to the Senate in 2012 in a close race against Democrat Sandra Reeves.

As a senator, Silvey advocated for a Republican-backed alternative to expand Medicaid under the auspices of the Affordable Care Act. He also was a major critic of former Gov. Jay Nixon’s plan to issue state bonds without legislative approval to help build a professional football stadium in St. Louis.

Since GOP Gov. Eric Greitens took office last month, Silvey has diverged from his party’s leadership on some key issues. He was one of three Republicans to vote against the right-to-work measure, which would bar unions and employers from requiring workers to pay dues. He’s also been critical of Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard’s legislation that would substantially alter the state’s consumer protection laws.

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

  • Silvey says Missourians shouldn’t be surprised that a huge GOP majority won’t be on the same page. “People I think just assume that when you wear a party label that everybody is a clone. And that’s really not the case at all,” he said. “There are some learning curves going on.”
  • He expects that there may be substantial opposition to paring down the state’s prevailing wage laws, which typically boost pay for government construction projects in rural counties.
  • Silvey said Greitens is “obviously a very driven personality." “For someone who hasn’t been in politics before, it’s going to be interesting to watch that progression and evolution,” he said. “You have to build consensus along the way. You can’t just dictate things and expect everyone to fall in line.”
  • If lawmakers don’t make big changes to Richard’s bill regarding consumer protection laws, Silvey expects a bipartisan contingent of senators to engage in a filibuster. "I don't think we were sent down here to pass legislation that's bad for our constituents because it might be good for certain employers," he said.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Ryan Silvey on Twitter: @RyanSilvey

Music: “Girl You Know It’s True” by Milli Vanilli & “One Light Burning” by Richie Sambora

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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