Brian Ellison | KCUR

Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

Brian Ellison is host of the podcast Statehouse Blend Missouri and regular substitute host of Central Standard and Up to Date. He also contributes to KCUR news coverage, including political reporting, anchoring election night broadcasts and conducting interviews for the "Innovation KC" series. He has served in a variety of roles at KCUR since 2008, including as a producer of Up To Date and The Walt Bodine Show.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Brian served as pastor of Parkville Presbyterian Church for 13 years and now is executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Theological Seminary, he is also a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor in preaching at Saint Paul School of Theology.

Ways to Connect

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Twenty-five years after the "Great Flood of 1993," is Kansas City any safer?

Kansas City Mayor Sly James sits behind a microphone. He is wearing headphones.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: If approved, the proposed 3/8-cent sales tax to fund expanded early childhood education in Kansas City will be on the November ballot.

Segment 1: First time voters share their thoughts on voting in the primary.

We visit with first time voters to find out what their experience voting in the primary elections was like and if the physical experience of voting met their expectations.

Sherry Duffett, leader of Citizens For A Better Clay County, sits in front of a microphone in the KCUR studio.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Problems in Clay County government prompted request. 

More than 9,000 Clay County residents are asking Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway to take a hard look on their county's government. This week the county administrator resigned, last year two other county officials were charged with tampering with public records, and there have been a number of questionable purchases made with tax payer dollars. Today we looked at how county government became so bad that residents went to the state for answers.

UMKC student Ravi Anand Naidu wearing headphones and seated in front of a microphone at KCUR studios.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Does Kansas City have a bad reputation within the Indian community? 

Indian nationals coming to America often have to worry about immigration hurdles and racism. Two violent incidents since 2017 in the Kansas City metro have added violence to their list of concerns. Most recently, Sharath Koppu, a UMKC student from India was shot and killed during a robbery at the restaurant where he worked. Today, representatives of the Indian community revealed their views of living here.

A man wearing headphones sits behind a studio microphone.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Witness says suspect killed in Kansas City Police Department shooting "was a very troubled individual."

In a re-broadcast of a segment that aired June 19, 2018, we discussed the Kansas City, Missouri, police shooting death of a sword-wielding woman and the role mental illness may have played in the encounter. We examined when deadly force by law enforcement is warranted. 

Warren K. Leffler / United States Library of Congress

Segment 1: Kansas City, Kansas, Public Safety and Neighborhood Infrastructure Sales Tax up for renewal.

A three-eighth-cent sales tax that passed with 70 percent of the vote in 2010 has collected more than $50 million devoted to public safety and neighborhood projects in Wyandotte County. This August, voters there get to decide if the sales tax has been worth the money. The levy is set to expire in 2020 unless it is approved for renewal. Today, we discussed the projects that the tax has benefitted and if it's still the best option for the Unified Government.

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Segment 1: How Kris Kobach changed the secretary of state's office in Kansas.

After winning the bid for Kansas secretary of state in 2011 with 59 percent of the vote, Kris Kobach recieved national attention for controversial his voter I.D. laws and anti-immigration stance. Most recently he's made headlines with his gubernatorial campaign. Today, we reflected on the changes the former law professor has brought to the secretary of state's office and whether the transformation Kobach has effected is permanent. 

Kevin Corlew, Lauren Arthur

Democrats have taken a Missouri Senate seat previously held by Republicans in the first electoral test since the resignation of GOP Gov. Eric Greitens last week. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

 

What caused Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to resign now and reactions from area Republicans and Democrats

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Updated May 30, 2018 — Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has resigned after coming under intense scrutiny over allegations of breaking campaign finance rules and participating in sexually coercive behavior and blackmail.

Lubos Houska / Pixabay - CC

Segment 1: Implicit bias, white allyship and the Starbucks arrests.

Segment 1: How to grill sausages and burgers.

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and many Kansas Citians will be pulling out the grill for backyard cookouts. The owner of a butcher shop/restaurant shares his tips on the best way to cook sausages and burgers on the grill. Plus, a local chef on how he went from cooking in fine dining restaurants to opening a fried chicken joint.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens is undertaking an unusual spectacle this week: reading hour upon hour of legal proceedings out loud, together.

Richardson
Tim Bommel / Missouri House Communications

As the 2018 legislative session careened to an end, we took stock of what legislation passed, what didn't pass, and what was allowed to quietly pass away. It turns out that with all eyes on the accusations against Gov. Eric Greitens, his fellow Republicans were fairly successful at advancing a legislative agenda.

Host Brian Ellison calls on KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger to help recap the session, and Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat, talks about what went wrong for his party.

New And Noteworthy Podcasts Of 2018

May 21, 2018

What gets you interested in history? For some people, it's the pomp of a royal wedding that gets them digging into the annals of British aristrocracy. Today, we discuss the royal wedding and find out why one history podcast is paying close attention to it. We'll also check out other new and noteworthy podcasts that came out this year.

Guests:

Jo Mannies / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri’s 2018 General Assembly session will likely be remembered most for the legal and ethical travails of Gov. Eric Greitens. But the Republican-dominated legislature managed to approve numerous policy initiatives — the impact of which may last longer than Greitens’ tenure.

David Wayne Reed

May 18, 2018
Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

He's an actor, writer, storyteller ... and now, filmmaker. While growing up on his family's farm in Louisburg, Kansas, David Wayne Reed used to dress in drag and perform shows for the hay crew and visiting seed salesmen. He became a founding member of KC's Late Night Theatre. And in his new film, he returns to his farm roots.

Segment 1: From Abilene to KC: The history of Sprint.

It's a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of local employees. But did you know that Sprint got its start in Abilene, Kansas? Over a century ago, a farmer-turned-businessman started stringing lines through town and bought up local independent telephone companies. Hear how the company grew from there.

Arthur and Corlew
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Reps. Lauren Arthur and Kevin Corlew are fighting over an exceedingly rare prize in Missouri politics: an open Senate seat in a district that doesn't have a clear partisan leaning. Whether voters choose the Democratic Arthur or the Republican Corlew in a June 5 special election could speak volumes about the mood of the electorate at a turbulent time.

Bill Shapiro sits in a chair, surrounded by CDs, books, and audio equipment.
Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Understanding who's who in the upcoming trial of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens will stand trial on Monday for a felony charge of invasion of privacy. In the courtroom overseen by Judge Rex Burlison will be more than just prosecutor Kim Gardner and defense lawyer Edward Dowd.  Each will lead a team of powerhouse attorneys so there are a lot of names in the lineup. To help us make sense of them all, we ran down the rosters with two reporters familiar with the players involved.  

DanaWelsch / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: What is tax increment financing, and what are its drawbacks?

Tax increment financing districts, known as TIFs, have been a significant tool in Kansas City's development. But could they hurt communities as much as they helps them? In this first of a two-part series on the effects of TIFs, we took a look at opposition to the measures.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Local 15-year-old creates a space for teens and young adults to embrace their love of books.

Book festivals for adults are a dime a dozen. Now, a teenager from Prairie Village is looking to give young readers a chance to geek out over their favorite past-time, too. We met the organizer, and spoke with two writers who are taking part this weekend in the first ever LitUp Festival.

Greitens
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Another week, another raft of bad news for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A new report details his use of a charity donor list for campaign fund-raising and the possibility he lied about it to the state ethics commission. We get up to speed with Bryan Lowry of the Kansas City Star. And even as legislators call a special session to consider impeachment, they march on with the state budget and other bills unrelated to gubernatorial scandals. House Democratic Caucus Secretary Rep.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens allegedly directed a staffer to obtain a donor list from the veterans charity he founded and lied about it to the state ethics commission, according to a special House committee report released Wednesday.

Immediately, Democrats and some Republicans again called for Greitens, who faces two felony charges, to step down. Greitens' camp dug in with legal counsel Catherine Hanaway's statement that said the report "does a tremendous disservice to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions." 

McCaskill-Hawley
File Photo and Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley seems headed for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill this fall. But Hawley's path has been made rougher by his complicated relationship with Gov. Eric Greitens—fellow Republican, fellow first-time-officeholder—and subject of his investigations. In this episode, host Brian Ellison takes an early look at the 2018 race. He talks with KCUR's Erica Hunzinger about Hawley's history and present entanglement with the governor.

Statehouse Blend Missouri crowd
Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

As students rally nationwide for more gun regulation, Missouri legislators are considering — and advancing — several bills to make firearms more legal, for more people, in more places. What underlies the enduring, and seemingly intractable, divide on gun laws in Missouri?

Host Brian Ellison welcomed Rep. T.J. Berry, a Kearney Republican, and Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Gladstone Democrat, and an audience of 75 for a live taping of the podcast April 19 in Kansas City.

File photo by Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

This post was updated at 7:50 p.m. Tuesday to include Greitens' latest statement. 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that his office has evidence that Gov. Eric Greitens may have committed a felony in obtaining and using a donor list from the nonprofit he founded.

By the end of the night, several top Republican state legislators were calling for Greitens to step down, something the governor tweeted that he would not do.

Some Missouri lawmakers are questioning the political future of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens after a report from a state House committee. The report details unwanted, sometimes aggressive, sexual encounters between Greitens and his hairdresser. KCUR’s Brian Ellison spoke with House Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty, a Democrat, and Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew, both from Kansas City.

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On Wednesday, a Missouri House committee released an explosive report about an affair Gov. Eric Greitens has admitted having with his former hairdresser in 2015. Many lawmakers have called the details of that report "disturbing" and Greitens’ future as governor may be in jeopardy.  

In this episode, host Brian Ellison and KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger unpack the report's details. We also hear from two lawmakers, Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew and House Democratic Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty, who both think it's time for Greitens to go.

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