Jeff Roorda | St. Louis Public Radio

Jeff Roorda

State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby, the top prosecutor in Baltimore, expressed support for St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner during a press conference outside the Carnahan Courthouse on Jan. 14, 2020.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A day after filing a federal lawsuit alleging a racist conspiracy to prevent her from enacting her agenda, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner received a show of support from six prosecutors from around the country who were elected under the banner of shaking up the criminal justice system.

At a press conference on the steps of the Carnahan Courthouse in St. Louis, the prosecutors praised Gardner as someone willing to stand up to the status quo — and added that her federal lawsuit was necessary to fight back against powerful interest groups.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner speaks to news reporters on July 11, 2019.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:30 p.m., Jan. 14 with comment from the advocacy group covering the cost of litigation —

St. Louis’ first black prosecutor, Kim Gardner, has sued the city, its police union and five other defendants for what she calls a racist effort to block her reform agenda.

“Gardner was elected in 2016 on a promise to redress the scourge of historical inequality and rebuild trust in the criminal justice system among communities of color,” reads the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court. “Unfortunately, entrenched interests in St. Louis … have mobilized to thwart these efforts through a broad campaign of collusive conduct” to protect the status quo and remove Gardner from office.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner takes the oath of office at the Old Courthouse on January 6, 2017.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Kim Gardner was running for St. Louis Circuit Attorney, she vowed change “by reforming a broken system.”

After the Michael Brown shooting, voters warmed to her message of rebuilding trust in the criminal justice system. She promised to reduce violent crime in the city. She also promised to increase diversity, to conduct fair and complete investigations in police shootings, reduce racial disparities and increase gun control.

Voters liked what they heard, and Gardner became the first African American woman elected to the city office.

But her nearly two-and-a-half-year tenure has been a roller coaster ride.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer Katlyn Alix, shown here in a January 2017 photo, was killed by a fellow officer Jan. 24, 2019  in what police say was an accidental shooting.
Provided | St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

Updated 5:45 p.m. Friday with charges filed — An officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has been charged with two felonies in the Thursday shooting death of another officer.

Nathaniel R. Hendren, 29, faces involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action charges in the killing of 24-year-old Katlyn Alix. The incident happened early Thursday morning at Hendren’s apartment in the 700 block of Dover Place in the Carondelet neighborhood.

On Aug. 31, 2013, then-Mayor Francis Slay signed an executive order returning control of the St. Louis police department back to the city.
FIle photo | Tim Lloyd | St. Louis Public Radio

Five years ago, control of the St. Louis police department returned to the city.

For more than 150 years, a state-appointed board had overseen the department, even though city residents paid for the services.

Opponents and supporters of the transition have different takes on how the last five years have gone.

St. Louis circuit attorney Kim Gardner announces on May 30, 2018, that her office will drop a felony computer-tampering charge against Gov. Eric Greitens.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis prosecutor’s office will no longer accept cases from 28 St. Louis police officers, and is reviewing the testimony they have offered in others.

Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner provided no details on why she is excluding the officers. In a statement, she called it her responsibility to defend the integrity of the criminal-justice system.

Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart
File photo I Chris McDaniel I St. Louis Public Radio

Jeff Roorda, the business manager for the St. Louis Police Officers Association, is running to become the next county executive of Jefferson County.

It’s the latest electoral pursuit for Roorda, a former Democratic state representative who has attracted local and national attention, and controversy, for his law enforcement advocacy after several police-involved killings in the St. Louis area.

FIle photo | Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:10 p.m. Feb. 17 — An alderman who is running for St. Louis mayor has asked the union representing city police officers to fire their business manager, Jeff Roorda, over a social media attack leveled at another mayoral candidate.

Thursday evening's statement from Alderman Lyda Krewson, D-28th Ward, targets Roorda's Facebook post that called city Treasurer Tishaura Jones a race-baiter and, in a second post, "the worst person to occupy skin."

Breaking new ground is one of the trademarks of the Politically Speaking podcast, and this year was no exception. 

After three years of podcasts, Politically Speaking changed its format and put the spotlight on guests. In all, 48 episodes featured federal, state and local officials from across Missouri and Illinois – as well as a few folks who aren’t in office.

Public Radio Reporters Review Tuesday's Election

Nov 5, 2014
St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger talks to St. Louis Public Radio reporters Nov. 5, 2014, during a recording of the 'Politically Speaking' podcast.
Chris McDaniel / St. Louis Public Radio

Wednesday on “St. Louis on the Air,” we gathered our political reporters to recap Tuesday’s election. The consensus: Republicans ruled the night.

“It was a Republican bloodbath, nationally and regionally,” said Jo Mannies, St. Louis Public Radio political reporter. “But it also shows that St. Louis County is definitely Democratic turf because the only two Democratic candidates — big names — who remained standing were Steve Stenger and Jill Schupp.”

Rebecca Smith, St. Louis Public Radio

The 2014 mid-term election is over, but its impact on local and state politics could be long lasting.

That’s because Republicans  -- who were already in firm control of the Missouri General Assembly – expanded their numbers in the House and Senate in part because they were able to crack the Democrats'  once-sturdy strongholds in Jefferson County, southeast Missouri and northeast Missouri. In St. Louis County, Republicans also came close to electing a county executive for the first time since 1990 when Democrat Buzz Westfall ended 28 years of GOP control over the office.

St. Louis Public Radio aired the first public debate between two candidates for St. Louis County executive, Democrat Steve Stenger, left and Republican Rick Stream (right).
Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s somewhat instinctual for Missouri political reporters to describe every election as decisive, critical or groundbreaking. And to be fair, it’s not an unnatural impulse – since every Show Me State election year for the past couple of decades has featured a competitive statewide, U.S. Senate or presidential contest.

This year, though, state Auditor Tom Schweich likely won’t lose to his Libertarian or Constitution Party opponents, and the Missouri House and Senate will remain firmly in Republican hands. And there's no U.S. Senate contest.

It's one of the few hotly contested races on the ballot the year: the 22nd District state Senate race in Jefferson County.

Both Republican Paul Wieland and Democrat Jeff Roorda joined us on the podcast a couple months ago, so we took the time afterward to ask them a few questions on video. You can see their answers by clicking on the questions below.

What's the biggest issue facing Jefferson County? What would you do to fix it?

What is the difference between you and your opponent?

File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis area is home to Missouri’s arguably most competitive – and expensive – state Senate contests on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Both state parties, and their allies, have been pouring money into the battles for the 22nd District and 24th District seats. The 22nd District is in Jefferson County, while the 24th stretches across a large area of central and west St. Louis County.

The 24th District pits state Rep. Jill Schupp, D-Creve Coeur, versus Republican attorney Jay Ashcroft.

FIle photo | Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking crew continues its look at the so-called “Battle for JeffCo,” the expensive campaign for the 22nd District state Senate seat that's among the region's most competitive contests this fall.

After hosting Republican state Rep. Paul Wieland last week, St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum now welcome his opponent – state Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart – to the podcast.

The November winner of the 22nd District contest will represent a big chunk of Jefferson County for the next four years.

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s mid-term election season is in full swing. And that means it’s time to interview the candidates in some of the state’s most competitive electoral contests. 

State Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Chris McDaniel, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to discuss his bid for the 22nd District state Senate seat. Wieland is running against state Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart, for the open Jefferson County-based seat.

(Roorda is slated to appear on next week’s episode of Politically Speaking.)

Mo. House Communications

Amid the continued controversy within Democratic ranks over St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch,  one official remains solidly in his corner and not afraid to say so:

State Rep. Jeff Roorda, D-Barnhart.

“Bob McCulloch is the definition of integrity and he was elected overwhelmingly,’’ said Roorda, who’s now locked in arguably the region’s most competitive state Senate contest this fall.

Roorda is competing against fellow Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, for the Senate post in Jefferson County vacated by Democrat Ryan McKenna because of term limits.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Federal prosecutors say they have dismantled a criminal ring that allegedly distributed at least $18 million worth of synthetic drugs across the country over the last three years. 

Six federal and ten local agencies participated in the investigation, which special agent James P. Shrouba,  the head of the St. Louis office of the Drug Enforcement Agency, said took down an entire organization from the producers to the retailers. Twenty-eight people from Illinois, Arizona, Missouri and Indiana were either arrested or surrendered to authorities.

Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio

For all intents and purposes, the 2014 election season looks to be a great, big bust.

Nobody should be surprised, as 2014 was always a way station to 2016. But hardly anybody expected that the only statewide race on the ballot would feature state Auditor Tom Schweich facing off against a Libertarian or Constitution Party candidate -- but not even a token Democrat. And some previously heated state Senate contests completely fizzled out.

Updated 3:23 p.m. Friday, Jan. 17

State Sen. John Lamping, R-Frontenac, has yet to say if he’s running for re-election this fall, in what could be the region’s top legislative contest.

But his campaign money could be speaking for him. He has very little.

Meanwhile, his Democratic challenger — state Rep. Jill Schupp of Creve — has raised a lot.

The latest campaign-finance reports for the two, filed this week, show that Schupp raised more than $108,000 during the past three months. She now has $261,202 in the bank.

It make take longer than expected to fill Ryan McKenna's void in the Missouri Senate.

When the Jefferson County Democrat resigned in December to become director of the state labor department, he left open the possibility that his Senate seat may remain vacant throughout 2014. If that occurs, the Missouri Senate would not be at full membership for an entire calendar year.

Mo. House Communications

Today is Black Friday, the biggest retail day of the year.  But many large retailers were open yesterday, on Thanksgiving.

One Missouri lawmaker wants to limit that.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 10, 2013 - When it comes to overriding Gov. Jay Nixon's vetoes, the only numbers that matter are 109 and 23.

Those numbers, of course, represent the amount of people needed to override a veto in the Missouri House (109) and Senate (23).

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 8, 2013 - State Rep. Jeff Roorda is a marked man.

Roorda, D-Barnhart, is among three Democrats in the Missouri House who had voted for the tax-cut package, HB253, that’s now at the center of a partisan tug of war between the Democratic governor who vetoed it and the Republican legislative leaders seeking to override said veto.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: State Rep. Jeff Roorda is a marked man.

Roorda, D-Barnhart, is among three Democrats in the Missouri House who had voted for the tax-cut package, HB253, that’s now at the center of a partisan tug of war between the Democratic governor who vetoed it and the Republican legislative leaders seeking to override said veto.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 7, 2013 - When this session of the Missouri General Assembly came to a close in May, Democratic lawmakers and their allies wasted little time in criticizing the GOP majority for passing "extreme" bills.

Take, for example, House Minority Leader Jake Hummel. The St. Louis Democrat sent out a statement lambasting the Republican majority’s “super-extremist” agenda, including measures nullifying federal guns laws, barring implementation of a United Nations resolution called Agenda 21 and banning drones.

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Missouri lawmakers have sent a nearly $25 billion budget to Governor Jay Nixon (D).

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

The Missouri House has formally rejected the Senate version of the state budget, setting the stage for final negotiations over the state’s spending plan for next year.

knittymarie | Flickr

State and local-level school officials would be required to develop guidelines for teaching evolution under legislation making its way through the Missouri House.

If passed, school districts would have to, “encourage students to explore scientific questions” regarding the “strengths and weaknesses” of both biological and chemical evolution.  The sponsor, State Representative Andrew Koenig (R, Winchester), says House Bill 179 stresses academic freedom.

“It does not mandate curriculum to the teacher," Koenig said.  "It’s really up to the school district, and if evolution is gonna be taught, it just allows them to teach the scientific strengths and weaknesses.”

UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Legislation to require special elections in Missouri to fill vacancies in statewide offices has cleared another hurdle.

The bill today easily passed the House Rules Committee and is expected to be debated on the floor of the House next week.  If passed, House Bill 110 would only allow the governor to appoint a temporary placeholder if a statewide office is vacated, and that person would be ineligible to run in the special election to fill the vacancy.  State Representative Jeff Roorda (D, Barnhart) sits on the Rules Committee and cast one of the few “no” votes.

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