Jo Mannies | KBIA

Jo Mannies

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 5, 2011 - The village of Plato, Mo.,  in Texas County, will be holding a celebration next Monday in honor of its selection as the "2010 Census Center of Population."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Plato represents "the mean center of population ... the point at which an imaginary, flat, weightless and rigid map of the United States would balance perfectly if all 308.7 million residents are counted where they live and all weigh exactly the same."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 14, 2011 - Leaders of Missouri's preservationist movement succeeded by Friday in blocking an amendment, added Thursday in the Missouri House, that stripped out the entertainer/athlete tax money that goes to the State Historic Preservation Office, and shifted the money to athletic programs at Lincoln and Harris-Stowe state universities. 

Both the House and Senate dropped the amendment Friday

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 6, 2010 - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is the first area member of Congress to praise American Airlines for its announcement that 545 furloughed TWA flight attendants are being re-hired.

The senator noted that she "helped negotiate a deal between American Airlines and the former TWA flight attendants to extend their recall rights."

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 23, 2010 - While the battle continues in his home state over who will replace him, U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., is in Washington focusing on tax policy.

On Wednesday, he stood on the Senate floor to call for retaining all the Bush tax cuts -- and maybe adding a few more.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 30, 2010 - Missouri Chief Justice William Ray Price Jr. offered up a strong defense today of the state's embattled nonpartisan selection system, while announcing three changes aimed at making the selection process "more transparent to the public."

Price's audience: nearly 900 lawyers and judges attending the joint annual meeting of the Missouri Bar and the Judicial Conference of Missouri, held in Columbia.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 16, 2010 - To hear some St. Louis area Democrats talk, the buzz around outgoing state Auditor Susan Montee's public observation that she hopes to remain in "public service'' doesn't center on a possible bid for another elective office in 2012.

Rather, Montee is being touted as a possible choice to take over as state Democratic Party chairman, as part of a move to rebuild a state party structure that is summarily derided -- in private, if not in public -- by Democrats upset over their party's heavy losses Nov. 2.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 12, 2010 - Missouri's Legislature is yet to go back into session, and new members have yet to be sworn in. But groups keenly interested in influencing the body's direction are already active.

That's particularly true of the Missouri AFL-CIO, which has invited union leaders and supporters to attend a special meeting next Tuesday at the Truman Hotel in Jefferson City. The topic? To discuss a "strategic plan'' for battling the expected effort of some Republican legislators to change the state's labor laws and make it a "right to work" state.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 29, 2011 - Without getting political about it, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is hoping that Florida's loss is Missouri's gain.

Nixon stopped by Amtrak's train station in downtown Kirkwood this morning to announce that his office was submitting an application to snag almost $1 billion in high-speed rail money that his Florida counterpart, Gov. Rick Scott, has rejected.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 11, 2011 - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster appeared to have caught many current and previous political colleagues off-guard today with his friend-of-the-court brief that challenges the mandate in the federal health-care law that requires most Americans to buy insurance by 2014. 

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 3, 2011 - About 10,000 residents in the current 3rd congressional district got a chance Thursday to listen and talk to U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis, about their concerns -- which, in this crowd, skewed toward protecting Social Security and Medicare, while also creating jobs.

U.S. Rep. Ann Wagner sees herself as a survivor who’s out to warn fellow Republicans from the suburbs that they are an endangered species – and face potential extinction in 2020 – unless the national party changes course.

By all accounts, the suburban “blue wave’’ last November swept the Democrats into control in the U.S. House.

“Obviously, there’s no mystery, no question. We lost a lot of Republican seats in suburban districts,” said Wagner, R-Ballwin.

St. Louis County Councilwoman Lisa Clancy joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies to talk about a slew of issues affecting county government.

Clancy was sworn in last week to represent the council’s 5th District, which takes in more than a dozen municipalities in eastern and central St. Louis County.

In early December, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson stopped by Hunter Engineering near Lambert airport to raise money for his campaign committee.

Or, to be precise, for two campaign committees: One is the traditional campaign operation, called Parson for Missouri, while the second is a political-action committee – called Uniting Missouri – that officially is separate. 

The St. Louis County Council is again planning to ask voters for its own lawyer so the council does not have to rely on the county counselor for legal representation.

Council Chairman Sam Page says the body often gets poor legal advice because Counselor Peter Krane reports to County Executive Steve Stenger.

The council voted 6-1 Thursday to approve a proposed charter change that would go before county voters in April. Voters narrowly rejected a proposal last summer that would have allowed the council to hire its own lawyer.

It’s going to be awhile before medical marijuana will be available to Missouri patients.

The timetable imposed by Amendment 2 – which Missouri voters overwhelmingly backed in November – will likely give the state close to a year before pot in its various forms will be legally available for patients.

Dr. Patricia Hurford, a Kirkwood-based physician, is optimistic that the wait will be worth it. She also practices in Illinois, which has had a medical-marijuana program in place for several years.

With a revolutionary year in Missouri politics winding down, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann decided to reflect on what happened and why it matters.

And what better way to do that than a list of the five biggest stories of 2018?

Senate President Pro Tem-elect Dave Schatz joins Politically Speaking to talk about issues that may arise during the 2019 legislative session.

Schatz is a Sullivan Republican who represents all of Franklin County and most of western St. Louis County. He won a contested race for president pro tem in November, meaning he’ll appoint committee chairs and direct legislation to certain committees.

St. Louis County Council members Sam Page and Hazel Erby join the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast to talk about the tumultuous year in St. Louis County government.

Page, D-Creve Coeur, and Erby, D-University City, are the chair and co-chair, respectively, of the council. They’ve held those positions for two years amid tensions with St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger.

Missouri’s U.S. Senator-elect Josh Hawley has snagged some plum Senate committee assignments for a newcomer, possibly signaling his strong ties to the chamber’s GOP leadership.

Hawley, a former law professor, will serve on the Senate's Committee on the Judiciary, which means he’ll have a say in any future judicial nominations by President Donald Trump. That includes any future Supreme Court vacancies.

Hawley also has been named to the Armed Services and Homeland Security panels, in effect replacing the state influence on those panels of outgoing Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat he defeated in November.

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill predicts there won’t be any congressional action – beyond symbolic votes – to protect or replace the Affordable Care Act before she leaves office.

And she’s not sure whether a government shutdown can be avoided, if President Donald Trump wants it.

McCaskill, a Democrat, said in an interview for St. Louis on the Air that she isn’t surprised by Friday’s ruling by a Texas judge to toss out the entire Affordable Care Act, although she disagrees with his decision.

It appears to be up to Missouri’s last remaining statewide Democrat – Auditor Nicole Galloway – to investigate the validity of allegations of campaign violations made against outgoing state Attorney General Josh Hawley.

Galloway said Friday that she’ll comply with the request of Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, a Republican who initially had been charged with examining a formal complaint filed against Hawley.

The complaint alleges Hawley, also a Republican, used public money to support his Senate bid against Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill. Hawley defeated McCaskill and will take office in January.

Money wasn’t everything when it came to Missouri’s nationally watched U.S. Senate contest.

Republican Josh Hawley is the state’s first Senate winner in decades to be dramatically outspent by the rival he defeated.

And the Democrat who lost, two-term incumbent Claire McCaskill, set a huge fundraising and spending record in the state.

Outgoing Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley highlighted his office’s ongoing cases Thursday, as he prepares to soon hand over operations to state Treasurer Eric Schmitt.

At a joint news conference, the two Republicans emphasized some of their mutual concerns and commitments. Schmitt will become attorney general when Hawley steps down to take on his new job as a member of the U.S. Senate. He defeated Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill in November.

When U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill claimed during her campaign that she was the top target of conservative groups, she turned out to be right.

McCaskill, a Democrat, was hit with $39.5 million in attack ads by outside groups – more than any other Senate candidate in the country in the Nov. 6 election.

Republican Josh Hawley, the Republican who defeated McCaskill, was the target of $31.6 million in outside spending. Almost $30 million of it was used in attack ads against him.

Veteran Democrat Mike Jones – who has played significant roles in St. Louis and St. Louis County government – joins Politically Speaking to offer his take on how best for Democrats to regroup after their generally poor showing in the November elections.

Jones also talks policy, particularly in his current role as a member of the state Board of Education.

Updated 4:45 p.m., Saturday, with election results — Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker is the new head of the Missouri Democratic Party, and outgoing state Rep. Clem Smith of St. Louis County is the new vice chairman.

Democratic activists hope that the duo — elected Saturday by party leaders gathered in Jefferson City — can help reorganize and revamp the party's image, operations and message. 

To say Missouri Democrats fared poorly in the November election is an understatement. Even as national Democrats saw huge gains, Missouri Democrats largely got wiped out – for the second time in two years. The biggest loss was the defeat of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill in her bid for a third term.

Missouri’s results came in spite of outgoing chairman Stephen Webber recruiting more candidates than state Democrats have seen in years, and campaigning hard for them.

State Rep.-elect Mary Elizabeth Coleman joins Politically Speaking to talk about her big win in Missouri’s 97th District House seat — and her expectations about the upcoming legislative session.

Coleman is a Republican from Arnold who defeated Democratic state Rep. Mike Revis in this month’s election. She will represent parts of St. Louis and Jefferson counties when lawmakers return for the 2019 session in January.

As he prepares to change jobs, state Treasurer Eric Schmitt talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jo Mannies about two of the major influences on his life:

Missouri Democratic Party chairman Stephen Webber says he will step down when his term ends Dec. 1.

Webber told St. Louis Public Radio that he has sent a letter to members of the Democratic State Committee, notifying them of his plans. A new chairman will be chosen Dec. 1, he said.

Webber is a former legislator from Columbia. He has drawn praise for his hard work campaigning for Missouri Democrats, even though the party suffered a major loss with this month’s defeat of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo.

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.