Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

Military historian and former president of Dartmouth College James Wright is the author of the book "Enduring Vietnam: An American Generation and Its War." He's giving a lecture at the Missouri History Museum on Monday evening.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

Much has changed about the nature of warfare in the 100 years since the end of World War I, including the percentage of American adults who have served in the U.S. military.

“I’m of the over-75 generation, [and] 52 percent of us are veterans,” former Dartmouth College president James Wright said Monday on St. Louis on the Air. “The Vietnam generation, about 37 percent are veterans. And of course the current generation, in their 20s and early 30s, it’s about 2 percent … it’s clear which way this demographic is moving.”

In conversation with host Don Marsh, the military historian was quick to add that while it’s a relief to have far smaller percentages of the nation’s young people heading off to war, it also means that fewer and fewer Americans understand “what it is that we’re asking them to do.”

State Sen.-elect Cindy O'Laughlin, R-Shelby County
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Sen.-elect Cindy O’Laughlin joins the Politically Speaking podcast for the first time to talk about her priorities for the 18th Senatorial District — and her experiences as a first-time candidate.

O’Laughlin won the election last week to represent the district, which takes in a swath of northeast Missouri including cities like Hannibal, Kirksville and Bowling Green.

Funding for the St. Louis City Senior Fund comes from a property tax approved by city voters in November 2016. So far, the fund has awarded grants to 17 local nonprofits.

Two years ago, St. Louis voters approved a property tax that funds assistance programs for older adults.

The St. Louis City Senior Fund, which administers the tax-generated revenue, awarded $800,000 dollars this year to local nonprofits. The organizations provide a range of free services for older adults to help them continue living in their homes.

InPower Institute hosts community meeting to inform people on how to spot human trafficking and what to do about it.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

If you were a baroness trapped in the house of a jealous baron and had the opportunity to flee, would you do it if you knew your fate was death should you be caught?

That's the fictional dilemma, Lorren Buck presents attendees of a sex trafficking discussion in St. Louis on Saturday. The “drawbridge” exercise was intended to help people understand the kinds of choices and challenges a victim of sex trafficking might experience. In small groups, participants discussed who in the story could have helped the woman along the way and what her options might have been.

After only five months as the president of the St. Louis County NAACP, the national association suspended him for violating its bylaws.
Ashley Lisenby | St. Louis Public Radio

John Gaskin III, the new St. Louis County NAACP president, says there are two local civil rights issues he wants to address: community policing and employment.

Gaskin, 26, announced Friday that he would be become president of the branch. He replaces longtime President Esther Haywood. The former Missouri legislator is 78.

Mary Elizabeth Coleman was one of the 46 women elected to Missouri's General Assembly Tuesday night. She was part of the record number of women running across Missouri this year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Women candidates across the country made history Tuesday when the highest number of females were elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, but women running for the Missouri Legislature didn’t fare as well.

The number of women on Missouri’s ballot this year was historic. In total, 103 women ran for statewide office and the Legislature.

Sen. Dave Schatz speaks to reporters on Nov. 8, 2018, after being elected Senate president pro tem.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Two members of St. Louis’ regional delegation will serve as leaders in the Missouri Senate, while two millennials from Springfield will be the heads of their respective parties.

Senators chose Sen. Dave Schatz, R-Sullivan, to be Senate president pro tem on Thursday. That leader assigns bills to committees — and decides who gets to be committee chairmen. Democrats re-elected Gina Walsh of Bellefontaine Neighbors as Senate minority leader.

Gov. Mike Parson speaks at Ranken Technical College during a day-long tour of St. Louis on Sept. 7, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson is expected to soon name a new state attorney general, now that incumbent Josh Hawley has been elected to the U.S. Senate.

And his decision could set up a political version of musical chairs.

Hawley's vacancy will be the second that Parson will fill since he took office less than six months ago.

Parson named then-state Sen. Mike Kehoe as lieutenant governor after Parson was elevated to governor, following the June resignation of fellow Republican Eric Greitens.

The captain of an amphibious vessel that sank and killed 17 people near Branson in July has been charged in an indictment by a federal grand jury, according to the US Attorney’s office of the Western District of Missouri. The charges are 17 counts of misconduct, negligence or inattention to duty by a ship’s officer resulting in death.

51-year-old Kenneth Scott McKee is charged with one count for each of the 17 passengers who died when the duck boat sank on July 19, 2018, according to the US Attorney's office.

Missouri Attorney General and senatorial candidate Josh Hawley poses for photos with supporters at a campaign event in Chesterfield on Oct. 29, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday was a triumph for Missouri Republicans and a disappointment for the state’s Democrats.

GOP Attorney General Josh Hawley continued his meteoric trajectory with his ouster of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill. Despite running a vigorous and well-funded campaign operation, McCaskill was done in by weak performances in Missouri’s rural and exurban areas — places where she’s traditionally thrived.

On Wednesday's "St. Louis on the Air," guests Jason Rosenbaum (at left), Anita Manion (center) and Jo Mannies offered their perspectives on this week's midterm election results.
St. Louis Public Radio

Voters in Missouri and Illinois answered many key regional questions at the polls this week, deciding a wide range of races and ballot issues. But with those midterm results come more questions about what it all means.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh worked through a handful of local and statewide topics alongside three guests who offered analysis: St. Louis Public Radio political reporters Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum plus University of Missouri-St. Louis political scientist Anita Manion.

St. Louis Public Radio’s political trio – Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann – did a postmortem of Tuesday’s election results on the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast.

I-64 W traffic highway
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Supporters of a plan that would have boosted Missouri’s gas tax by 10 cents are plotting their next steps after voters rejected the increase Tuesday.

Proposition D failed 54 percent to 46 percent, winning just six counties, all of which are located along Interstate 70. Voters last approved an increase in 1996.

Families gather at the Fairmont City libary to play, read books and take classes.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It's a common sight at the Fairmont City Library Center: Students discussing the grammar and syntax of English sentences in small groups.

On a recent night, the teacher wanted to know what another word for “per” is. The word got lost in translation. Some students suggested “for,” but in the sentence the teacher gave the correct answer is “each.” It was a confusing answer for one student who offered the Spanish word for “each” instead. It’s “cada.”

The class is just one of the night English language classes the library offers adult native Spanish speakers in the area who want to perfect their second language.

Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

State Auditor Nicole Galloway defeated Republican Saundra McDowell to be the only Democrat holding a statewide office.

“To me what this election says is that folks believe in accountability,” Galloway said after her victory Tuesday. “They believe that Jefferson City needs someone that will call the balls and strikes and call out corruption when it happens and hold those accountable for their actions.”

Josh Hawley speaks to supporters in Springfield, Missouri after securing the vote for U.S. Senator.
Bailey Vassalli | KSMU

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley has defeated U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, giving the state and the country a new Republican in the Senate and President Donald Trump a sought-after victory.

“This was about defending our way of life. It was about renewing it for a new day,” Hawley said, touching off deafening cheers from supporters gathered in Springfield at the University Plaza hotel. “And tonight the people of Missouri said we believe in that way of life, it's not the past, it’s the future."

JB Pritzker wins Illinois Governor's race

Nov 7, 2018
Illinois gubernatorial candidate JB Pritzker speaks in support of congressional candidate Brendan Kelly.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In one of the most expensive governor’s races in American history, rich Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner suffered a resounding defeat Tuesday to even-richer Democratic challenger JB Pritzker.

With 66 percent of precincts reporting, Pritzker led Rauner by nearly 20 points, echoing polls that showed the Democrat with a huge lead late in the race.

It was exactly the return Pritzker had hoped to reap from a historic investment in his fledgling political career. Pritzker, a multi-billionaire heir to the Hyatt hotel fortune, poured an astonishing $171.5 million of his own money into his first political run.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger and political strategist Ed Rhode celebrate in Stenger's home. He defeated Republican challenger Paul Berry in Tuesday's election.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

Steve Stenger, the incumbent St. Louis County executive, has won another four years in office.

Stenger, a Democratic, handily beat his opponents, Republican Paul Berry, a bail bondsman, and two third-party candidates with 57 percent of the vote. He will enter his second term as county executive in January facing a hostile County Council on which he has no reliable allies.

Also Tuesday, St. Louis County voters approved a zoo tax and four changes to the county charter, while St. Charles County residents passed a smoking ban.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner, R-Ballwin, speaks to supporters and media on Tuesday night. She defeated Democratic challenger Cort VanOstran in Missouri's 2nd Congressional District.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Reps. Mike Bost and Ann Wagner bucked a national trend to survive tough Democratic challenges Tuesday.

The two Republicans will return to a House that Democrats control after the GOP lost a number of other seats across the country.

Mary Elizabeth Coleman holds her son Gerhardt while talking to voters and knocking doors in her district last month. Coleman, a lawyer and mother of six, has made her family a big part of her campaign. Oct. 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Two Jefferson County statehouse districts closely watched as bellwethers went Republican on Tuesday.

Mary Elizabeth Coleman won in Missouri’s 97th House District and incumbent Sen. Paul Wieland won in Missouri’s 22nd Senate District.

Benjamin Singer, communications director for Clean Missouri, announces victory in the contest to pass Amendment 1 to supporters at Flamingo Bowl in St. Louis.
File photo I Shahla Farzan | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri voters approved a sweeping overhaul of state legislative redistricting, raising the minimum wage and legalizing medical marijuana, but rejected a gas tax increase.

Of all of the initiative petitions on Tuesday’s ballot, the most contentious was Clean Missouri — on the ballot as Amendment 1. Voters approved it by a wide margin — 59-40, with close to 60 percent of the votes reported — a result propelled by a well-organized and well-funded campaign. Passage is a huge victory for Democratic activists seeking to advance their party’s state House and Senate prospects after the next census.

Sen.-elect Josh Hawley speaks to supporters in Springfield, Missouri, after securing the vote for U.S. senator. Nov.6, 2018
Bailey Vassalli | KSMU

Midnight — That’s all, folks!

With more than 91 percent of precincts reporting, here’s what we know:

Missouri will be the 31st state to approve medical marijuana. Voters also approved a sweeping overhaul of state legislative redistricting but rejected a gas tax increase. And for the second time since 2006, Missouri voters backed an increase to the state’s minimum wage.

Lily Furgeson had a great experience in sex ed in middle school. Furgeson, who is a 17-year-old senior at a Chicago Public Schools high school, said her eighth grade sex ed teacher made sure to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities as part of their curriculum.

Evita Caldwell is a graduate of Vashon High School and St. Louis University. Her story is the first of several in St. Louis Public Radio's collaboration with the initiative "Before Ferguson, Beyond Ferguson."
Brian Heffernan | St. Louis Public Radio

When Evita Caldwell arrived at St. Louis University as a freshman, she quickly understood a couple of things: First, that she lacked the professional mentors and personal networks that play a major role in upward mobility. Second, that her choice of high school may not have been the right one.

Caldwell, 29, grew up in north St. Louis and attended Vashon High School, in the St. Louis Public Schools system and her father’s alma mater. According to the story "Finding Our Way," James Caldwell had insisted that Evita forego an opportunity to participate in the areawide desegregation program that would have landed her in a higher performing school in the region. Instead, she attended Vashon, a city high school with a poor academic track record and few extracurricular opportunities.

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley and U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill shake hands following Thursday night's Senate candidate debate in St. Louis. Oct. 18, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

For Missouri Democrats, tomorrow is judgment day.

Voters will decide if the last two Democratic statewide officials remain in their posts. If U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill and state Auditor Nicole Galloway prevail, it could provide a jolt for a party seeking to rebound after the disaster of 2016.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 8, 2013 - Dear Beaconites - Equality and inequality came into sharp focus in the news this week.

In Illinois, same sex couples won marriage equality. While the symbolic significance is sizable, the legal impact is unclear. Illinois already recognizes civil unions, and the federal government already is adjusting its regulations in light of the Supreme Court ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act.

St. Louis Public Radio's voter's guide to the 2018 midterm election

Nov 2, 2018
A poll worker sets out "I voted today" stickers at the St. Louis County Board Of Elections on Oct. 25, 2018.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm election, we've compiled a list of key races with links to our in-depth reporting and more resources to help inform your vote.

Rabbi Amy Feder (left) and Karen Aroesty (right) discussed the local Jewish community's reaction to the tragic event in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue.
Lara Hamdan | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh went behind the headlines to discuss the local Jewish community’s reaction to last weekend’s tragic event in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life synagogue, where 11 people were killed.

“It feels like we’ve seen this uptick in anti-Semitism for a while now,” Rabbi Amy Feder of Temple Israel in St. Louis County told Marsh. Also joining the conversation was Karen Aroesty, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.

President Donald J. Trump’s midterm campaign visit at the Columbia Regional Airport Thursday night was marked by the presence of numerous local and state-level GOP politicians, all appearing to boost Senate hopeful Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley’s campaign in its final days.

David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio