Jo Mannies | KCUR

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.

Missouri’s Democratic and Republican parties have revamped their campaign operations, and installed new executive directors, just seven months before this fall’s elections.

The Missouri Democratic Party – which is fielding no candidate for state auditor -- also has taken the unusual step of dissolving the party’s state Senate and House campaign committees, folding control of those operations, and their money, into the state party’s coffers.

In the midst of his second term, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has continued to travel the state to promote his agenda for the state. He has heightened his profile even more in recent days, as he has blasted a tax-cut proposal that the General Assembly has landed on his desk.

But Nixon has effectively dropped one activity that used to take up a lot of his time: campaign fundraising.

Missouri’s two U.S. senators – Republican Roy Blunt and Democrat Claire McCaskill – are joining forces as they raise concerns about the Defense Department’s proposed cuts in spending for the National Guard.

The trims would have a $34 million economic impact on Missouri through 2016, Blunt told reporters Thursday. The reduced spending would primarily affect Guard operations in Springfield, Warrensburg and St. Joseph, he said.

(Updated 2 p.m. Thurs, Feb. 27)

St. Louis has decided against bidding to host the 2016 Democratic presidential convention, citing the current civic focus on improving the downtown access to the Gateway Arch.

Instead, city officials will consider seeking the 2020 convention "when the Arch (project) is done and paid for," a spokesman for Mayor Francis Slay said Thursday.

(Updated 11:30 p.m. Mon., Feb. 10)

Eight months before the 2014 election, former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway is announcing that she’s running for governor in 2016.

Hanaway’s decision wasn’t a surprise. But her timing was. A year ago, Hanaway had stated that she was considering such a bid. But her announcement did catch political insiders off guard because it was so early. Candidate filing has yet to begin for this fall’s elections.

(Updated 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 29)

President Barack Obama’s call to increase the nation’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour is part of his broader focus on attacking income inequality.

But that approach swiftly ignited strong reaction, pro and con, as soon as he outlined his initiative during Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

Fellow Democrats praised Obama for addressing issues that they say threaten the nation's economic recovery.   Republicans accuse the president of playing politics leading up to a crucial mid-term election.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is proposing a budget that would set state government spending at roughly what it was seven years ago, before the nation’s economy – and the state’s budgets -- took a nose dive.

And that’s a huge difference from the frugal budgets the state has seen for years.

The biggest beneficiary of the increased spending, should the General Assembly agree, will be public education.

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