Government | KCUR


Obama Policy Director Leads Women's Health Forum

Aug 15, 2008

Kansas City, MO – Senator Barack Obama's domestic policy director, Neera Tanden, met with Kansas City supporters yesterday for a town hall on women's health. The former Hillary Clinton advisor says it's important these types of meetings take place.

Tanden: One of the critical issues in this election is ensuring that people understand what's at stake.

Council Presses For Squitiro Resignation

Aug 15, 2008
Photo from

There are 13 members of the city council, counting the mayor. And nine of them are sponsoring a policy resolution on volunteers at City Hall.

Mayor Pro-tem Bill Skaggs wasn't among them, but the significance of the "legal protection" measure was fairly clear to him. Skaggs says his fellow council members seem to be expressing their disapproval of the mayor's wife, Gloria Squitiro, serving as a volunteer worker in the mayor's office... and the city being sued over allegedly discriminatory remarks she made.

Veterans Lining Up For Top Campaign

Aug 12, 2008
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck

In the building race for President of the United States, Senator Barack Obama's veterans affairs advisors in Missouri have been listening to former military personnel at meetings around the state, while his GOP opponent, Senator John McCain's counterparts call their candidate a 'tireless advocate for our troops.'

Veterans Address Needs With Obama Advisors

Aug 11, 2008

Kansas City, MO – Senator Barack Obama's veteran affairs advisors in Missouri have been listening to former military members at meetings around the state. Ten veterans and soldier's widow told their stories Monday at the National World War I Museum in Kansas City.

The soldiers wanted assurances that veterans' benefits will increase, starting with a GI bill of rights.

The widow of a Vietnam War medic, Kathleen Aylward, said that families must be more involved in veteran care.

Regional Rail Rout: Kansas City Is Not Unique

Aug 8, 2008
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck

A bi-state light rail approach seems unattainable in the short term, so Kansas City's mayor has brought in colleagues from other states to coach.

Mayoral caucuses of the kind sought by Mayor Mark Funkhouser are in place in Colorado and Greater Chicagoland to lobby for state and federal backing on transit, air quality, water issues and crime. The transit issue got a lot of attention.

Kansas metro-suburban leaders aren't taken with Funkhouser's transit plan, and it was tough enough getting a lot of support on the Missouri side.

Rendering by BNM Architects.

Kansas Citians can look forward to a vote on light rail and some fancy new parking meters downtown.

Councilman Russ Johnson's compromise starter route won unanimous final approval yesterday, and the sales tax to support it will go to the voters in November. Johnson says though most voters want a more expansive plan, the majority polled endorse the northland to 63rd Street plan.

In HST's Shadow. Dems Launch Fall Fight

Aug 7, 2008
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck

The Missouri Democratic Party picked a symbolic location to draw support for the Fall campaign.

Observers watched and listened by the statue of Harry Truman on the old Independence Square.

Congressman Kenny Hulshof defeated state Treasurer Sarah Steelman in the Missouri Republican gubernatorial primary.

With 98 percent of the precincts reporting results, Hulshof received about 49 percent of the vote, to Steelman's 45 percent.

Attorney General Jay Nixon won the Democratic nomination for governor with 85 percent of the vote.

In January, GOP Governor Matt Blunt announced he would not seek re-election.

photo: Steve Bell, KCUR

Phill Kline will have to leave the Johnson County District Attorney's office. Steve Howe, who billed himself as the "unity candidate" won Tuesday's Republican primary 60 percent to Kline's 40 percent.

Abortion, and Kline's efforts to fight it, were central issues in the campaign. And, though both Kline and Howe call themselves pro-life, Howe's convincing victory isn't likely to end the split in the Kansas Republican party...not by a long shot.

Voters Approve JoCo Public Safety Sales Tax

Aug 6, 2008
Photo by Steve Bell

Johnson County gave a 53 to 47 nod to extending its one-quarter-cent tax indefinitely. Previously the tax was devoted to the public schools. County legislative chair Annabeth Surbaugh said the majority recognized that the sales tax is the best way to finance expansions of the jail and juvenile facilities and programs... and build a new crime lab.

Kansas City, MO – In this edition of Up to Date, political pundits analyze the results of the primary elections, and what impact it could have on this year's presidential contest.

In the Democratic race for Missouri Attorney General, State Senator Chris Koster squeaked by State Representative Margaret Donnelly with a margin of less than a thousand votes. Donnelly's campaign is considering calling for a recount. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross was at Koster victory party in the Teamsters Hall on the east side of Kansas City.

Missouri State Senator Chris Koster declared a victory in the Democratic attorney general primary on Tuesday. His opponent state Rep. Margaret Donnelly may ask for a recount.

Koster leads by 854 votes out of 345,972 votes cast.

Phill Kline lost the Johnson County district attorney's office in the Republican primary Tuesday night. Kline's prosecution of abortion clinics proved to be a key issue in the race.

Challenger Steve Howe, a former assistant district attorney received 60 percent of the vote. In the general election in November, Howe will face Democrat Rick Guinn, also a former district attorney who works in the attorney general's office.

Why Non-Voters Skip The Polls

Aug 5, 2008

Kansas City, MO – Even with a historic November election staring them in the face, there are citizens who will not be casting a ballot this year because they choose not to vote.

On the August 5 edition of Up to Date, we examined non-voters, the reasons they forego going to the polls and what effect their decision not to participate has on the direction elected officials take on issues and policies.

Nixon Wins Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

Aug 5, 2008

Democrat Jay Nixon handily won his party's gubernatorial nomination Tuesday and starts his campaign with millions to spend.

With token opposition Nixon took 85 percent of the vote and had to spend around a million dollars to do it. He took the Uptown Theater microphone after U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill: "I don't know about you, but I like the idea of the next president of the United States Barack Obama, campaigning in Missouri with the next governor of the state of Missouri, Jay Nixon."

Social conservatives and moderates are competing again this year for control of the Kansas State Board of Education. Voters will go to the polls in primary elections on Tuesday to nominate candidates in the five seats that are up for election this year. One of the most closely-watched races is in District 2, which covers parts of Johnson and Wyandotte counties. More from Kansas statehouse reporter Peter Hancock.

What If You Held An Election.......?

Aug 3, 2008

For all the talk of interest in this primary election, voting- trend watchers in and around Kansas City say the general populace doesn't seem too "fired up."

Rarely, does a race for the Kansas legislature generate much interest outside that district's boundaries, but that's just what's happening this year, all due to an online comic strip. A campaign in the Kansas City suburb of Olathe is drawing attention and money from around the globe. Maria Carter of member station KCUR reports.

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University of Missouri Photo

Like about 25 percent of major American cities, Kansas City and St. Louis have their own income tax - the Earnings Tax. The state legislature passed the law allowing the cities to tax income in the late 1940's.

Kansas Republican Senator Pat Roberts is running for re-election to a third term in a state long viewed as a Republican stronghold yet, the Democrats have found some people willing to take on the challenge to unseat Roberts.

Light Rail Plan Expands To 63rd & Prospect

Aug 1, 2008

Freedom, Inc., the Urban League, the NAACP and civic leaders were on hand Thursday to advocate for adding two miles of track, but ended up praising rather than cajoling. Councilman Russ Johnson opened hearing with by announcing that the route had been altered.

Not all the testimony at the hearing was positive. Residents of the Main Street corridor and Bill Bates of American Century Investments expressed concerns about parking, effects on traffic and property access. Attorney Clinton Adams, Jr. responded with an invitation that drew laughter:

Trolling For Votes. How Many Are Employed?

Jul 31, 2008
KCUR photo by Dan Verbeck

There's four lawyers competing to be the Democratic candidate for Missouri's Attorney General in next week's primary. They have similar ideas on how to protect Missourians from crime and consumer fraud. But the candidates are coming at the race from very different perspectives. KCUR's Sylvia Maria Gross reports.

Kansas City, MO – Steve Howe worked for 15 years in the Johnson County District Attorneys office as a prosecutor. Now, Howe is running against Phill Kline in the Republican primary for the top job in the office.

(courtesty of Johnson County District Attorney's office)>

Kansas City, MO – Phill Kline is currently the Johnson County District Attorney and formerly Kansas Attorney General. He's running to keep his job against Steve Howe in the Republican Primary.

Kansas City, MO – Steve Howe worked for 15 years in the Johnson County District Attorneys office as a prosecutor. Now, Howe is running against Phill Kline in the Republican primary for the top job in the office.

Kansas City, MO – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is making big efforts to win over traditional Republicans in Missouri, but he must fight to make conservative voters feel comfortable with his non-traditional background, said political commentators speaking with Steve Kraske on KCUR's Up to Date

Verbal Guns Loaded For Aerial Dogfight: KCI

Jul 29, 2008