Tommie Pierson | St. Louis Public Radio

Tommie Pierson

Top row, Russ Carnahan, Tommie Pierson, Winston Apple. Bottom row, Bev Randles, Mike Parson
Jason Rosenbaum and campaign photo

Let’s get something out of the way: Missouri’s lieutenant governor doesn’t have a lot of power or many defined responsibilities.

The lieutenant governor is charged with presiding over the Senate, serving on boards and commissions, and assuming the governorship if the state’s chief executive dies. That reality has often under whelmed people elected to the office: The late U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton once quipped that the lieutenant governor’s office is only good for standing at an office window and watching the Missouri River flow by.

Riverview Gardens students entertain before Thursday night's state hearing, May 5, 2016
Dale Singer | St. Louis Public Radio

When he opened Thursday night’s state hearing on the status of the unaccredited Riverview Gardens schools, assistant education commissioner Chris Neale spelled out the two big decisions the district faces.

First, the state school board will decide, as early as next month, whether the district’s progress merits an upgrade to provisional accreditation.

Russ Carnahan
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, a member of arguably Missouri’s most prominent Democratic family, has ended months of speculation by filing paperwork to run for lieutenant governor.

On Friday, Carnahan set up a campaign committee with the Missouri Ethics Committee.

Richardson hugs his father, Mark Richardson, right after he was elected as speaker of the  Missouri House.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

House Speaker Todd Richardson’s legislative career is full of defied expectations.

Before he was elected to House leadership, Richardson helped bring substantial changes to Missouri’s embattled Second Injury Fund – an issue that bedeviled lawmakers for years. And after the misdeeds of his predecessor, the Poplar Bluff Republican rose to the speakership much earlier than anybody expected.

Tommie Pierson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Tommie Pierson to the program for the very first time.

Children at the JSO Summer Learning Enrichment Program line up to play dodgeball last Tuesday. The camp takes place at Greater St. Mark Family Church's school, which had its air conditioning units stolen earlier this year.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a balmy Tuesday afternoon, dozens of young children could feel the competitive spirit floating through the hallways of Greater St. Mark Family Church’s school.

Youngsters enrolled in the JSO Summer Learning Enrichment Program filed into a gymnasium to play a spirited game of kickball. It’s one of numerous activities offered at the camp, which caters mainly to low-income children from north St. Louis County.

But competitiveness wasn’t the only thing wafting through the building. Walk into certain classrooms, and the sticky, sweaty aura of heat is unmistakable.

State Rep. Tommie Pierson is keenly aware that Missouri has never elected a black statewide officeholder in its history. And he’s decided to do something about it.

The Bellefontaine Neighbors Democrat and senior pastor at Greater St. Mark Family Church told St. Louis Public Radio Tuesday he would forgo another term in the Missouri House and run for lieutenant governor next year. He said he’s making his run with history in mind.

House Speaker John Diehl presides over the Missouri House last week. Diehl, R-Town and Country, has rejected the idea of pursuing a "Ferguson agenda," but adds the House will take up bills changing municipal courts.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

At first glance, state Sen. Bob Dixon wouldn’t be an obvious choice to spearhead legislation responding to the unrest in and around Ferguson.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Protesters returned Saturday to protest George Zimmerman's not guilty verdict in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin – and to call for a curtailment of violence throughout the region.