MAGAZINE MAGAZINE 01.01.2017
LION OF THE SENATE POLLING SUCCESS
WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE LEGAL INDUSTRY?
POLITICAL PROS YOU NEED TO KNOW OPINION FROM:
JOE ABRENIO, ANDY ARNOLD, JANE DUEKER, RAY MCCARTY , REP. TRACY MCCREERY, ELIZABETH ROBERTS, AND TREASURER ERIC SCHMITT 1
WE GOT THIS. For more than 130 years we have provided good jobs, fair wages, secure benefits and a voice for millions of working men and women. We know that the only way to build a strong economy and lasting work for future generations is to stay focused on what matters â€” protecting Missouriâ€™s most valuable resource. Supporting our working families means supporting our future.
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Scott Faughn Rachael Herndon Dunn
S TA F F
Benjamin Peters Kaden Quinn
Joe Abrenio Andy Arnold Jane Dueker Ray McCarty Rep. Tracy McCreery Elizabeth Roberts Treasurer Eric Schmitt
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR OPEN LETTER: DON’T BE LIKE ILLINOIS
7 INCOME TAX CUTS WILL HELP MISSOURI’S ECONOMY 8 EXPAND RIGHT-TO-TRY 10 PRIVACY MATTERS 11 ‘SIMPLE COMMITTEE’ IS THE WORST CLICHE 12 THE STATE OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO 14 CYBER SECURITY AND THE GRID
16 50 POLITICAL PROS YOU NEED TO KNOW
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LION OF THE SENATE POLLING SUCCESS AND HOW THEY ACHIEVED IT
WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE LEGAL INDUSTRY?
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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR This edition is one I am particularly excited about - and I’ll continue telling you that with every single edition. There’s a ridiculous phrase that goes, “Behind every great man is a woman shaking her head.” To me, “Behind every great law/ lawmaker/campaign is a lawyer/ communicator/ consultant grumbling under their breath.” There’s a certain aura of glamor to much of politics that is not reserved for grassroots outreach - doors in the snow, phone banks in offices without air conditioning, etc. There’s even less glamor in eye strain from reading and typing out tedious appeals and prepping for trials by sifting through piles of notes, books, and files. Even more, rarely is there someone to hold a communications consultant’s hand when their client, again, tweets using the wrong their/there/ they’re. These professionals enjoy a certain air of mystery outside of MEC reports and, usual, media scrutiny. In my opinion, these people are the modern “men” that President Theodore Roosevelt is speaking of in his “Man in the Arena” speech. On what I’m sure was a rough trip to Paris in spring of 1910, Roosevelt stopped one afternoon at the Sorbonne to address a crowd of thousands to read a 35-page speech. Really, so rough. He had just left office the year before and had embarked on a hunting trip that I’m sure many people on this list would have had a heyday with on Twitter. Around three thousand people gathered to see Roosevelt. The same president was the first to drive a car and fly a plane. He, possibly, was also the first president to be Photoshopped - with one photo of him being literally glued on another to create the famous photo of him on a moose. (He
never rode a moose.) On top of that, Roosevelt had more pets than the White House had ever seen in a one-legged rooster, a lizard, a pony, a blue macaw, a pig, a…fleet of guinea pigs, an owl, a gaggle of dogs, and whatever else history has forgotten. He did not become president by choice, ascending after President McKinley was assassinated - himself eventually surviving an assassination attempt - and finishing the speech he was making when he was shot. The insider had been vice president, governor of New York, city commission member and state lawmaker. Upon his ascension, he oversaw strikes, the creation of some of the first food safety standards, and the construction of one of the largest trade routes in the world - the Panama Canal. He was a Republican until he left office - then started his own political party before returning to his original party. Perhaps it was the students, military officers, or just the civically involved that inspired Roosevelt’s speech. But, I can’t imagine Teddy Roosevelt in the year 1903 or 1909 and definitely not 2017 without a team of the phenomenal, experienced professionals. Of course, many politicos like to fawn over quotes from the speech, basking in nothing short of comforting inspiration needed throughout continually exhausting trials, literally and figuratively. Honestly, it was a quote from this speech that got me through door knocking in sub-zero cold, phone banking in hot - and stinky - offices, droning conference calls and a crash course in insane donor requests and delicate social politics. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done
them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” The people on this list are the most evolved and flexible professionals in the state that I know of. They can dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge when their clients and peers can only dip or dive. Whereas, I usually get the joy of working from an air conditioned office, most of the time, and would laugh at being asked to go outside if it was snowing, let alone subzero, for really anything at all, it was an honor to once serve in the arena to find the job I have today - collecting, contacting, and honoring those in the arena who, usually, make sure they never get the glory. This list includes almost every person I have aspired to be and includes every person I could not be more honored to be able to closely witness in action. Selfishly, I ask each and everyone one of you on the 50 List - keep being you so that I can keep being me. You make my job easier, and sometimes harder, with your professionalism, ability, and genuity. Best,
RACHAEL HERNDON DUNN Editor The Missouri Times The Missouri Times Magazine
Don’t be like Illinois 4 MINUTE READ
To my fellow public servants in the Missouri General Assembly: As I’m sure you have noticed, the financial news out of Illinois is getting worse by the day. Decades of government expansion, budgetary neglect, unaddressed pension liabilities, and passing the buck have left the Illinois state budget in shambles. The long-term effects of these decisions have now culminated in a crisis so severe that they could become the first state ever downgraded to a “junk” credit rating – a stark contrast to our state’s perfect rating. Just last week, our neighbors across the Mississippi River enacted a spending plan that will increase taxes by 32 percent in an attempt to patch their funding woes. For a middle class family in Belleville, Illinois that could mean a $700 tax increase next year due to no fault of their own, but rather the recklessness of state lawmakers. As our state’s Chief Financial Officer, I have kept a watchful eye on the situation to our east, and I believe it offers us an important opportunity to think constructively about the future of our state. The brutal truth we must face is that many of the underlying issues that led to the crisis in Illinois exist on some level here in Missouri. Address the Pension Liability Missouri’s $15.07 billion total unfunded pension liability is a crisis on the horizon that, if left unaddressed, will threaten our ability to balance the budget. In the absence of meaningful reform that liability, which equates to $2,477 per Missouri citizen, can result in cuts to vital
services and higher taxes like we’ve seen in Illinois and other states. The term-vested reform passed earlier this year was an important first step, but there is much work still to be done. The long-term fiscal health of our state requires us to address our troubled pension systems before it’s too late. Protect Our AAA Credit Rating We must also work together to protect our AAA credit rating. This perfect rating lowers our cost of borrowing, and the cost of borrowing for our political subdivisions like school districts. As your State Treasurer, I commit to you that I will make smart, safe investments while protecting taxpayer dollars to supplement our revenue. Our team has earned millions in additional income for the state in my first six months in office, and we will work to continue that success. In your duties as legislators, this means budgeting strategically, thinking beyond the next fiscal year, and embracing a longer-term view of Missouri’s finances. Decisions made today will impact taxpayers for generations to come, and we must keep that fact in mind with every financial decision we make. Provide Tax Relief The good news is that we are moving in the right direction on tax policy. I’m proud to have worked with members of both parties to pass two of the largest tax cuts in state history in 2011 and 2014, and these reforms will help to grow our economy. Small businesses, which represent 97% of Missouri businesses, have struggled for years to stay open in the midst of burdensome regulation and excessive taxation. By finding new ways to provide relief to those
businesses and letting Missourians keep more of their hard-earned money, we can significantly strengthen our economy. For middle class families, tax relief means greater financial empowerment, higher take-home pay and flexibility to address immediate needs. Shrink the Size of Government There is a renewed focus in Jefferson City on making state government more efficient, which is another step in the right direction. Governor Greitens has made his intentions to eliminate wasteful spending crystal clear, and I look forward to working with his administration to see that vision through. Shrinking the size of government makes it easier to keep our fiscal house in order and maintain priorities in the long run. My office is working hard to identify opportunities to make state funds more transparent, something that has plagued Illinois. A Word of Caution In the wake of our neighboring state’s budget crisis, Missouri finds itself at a crossroads. One path forward requires we start making tough decisions now to ensure our state is one full of opportunity for our children and grandchildren. The other path, the one Illinois foolishly followed to their demise, resembles a pattern of kicking the can down the road until our problems are beyond repair. My word of caution is this: Don’t be like Illinois. Yours in service, ERIC S. SCHMITT Missouri State Treasurer
Income tax cuts will help Missouriâ€™s economy
OPINION 3 MINUTE READ
RAY McCARTY President/CEO Associated Industries of Missouri The recent announcement that Missouri state income taxes will be cut beginning in the 2018 tax year for ALL Missouri taxpayers has some folks up in arms. How can Missouri afford tax cuts at the same time the governor is withholding money from state agency budgets? Having helped in the passage of this tax cut, the first of its kind in nearly 100 years, we are happy to answer these questions. First of all, the fact the governor is withholding money from state agencies simply means the growth in Missouri revenues did not meet the amount that was predicted when the budget was prepared. Missouri budgets are prepared based entirely on projections, many of which are made six months before the state fiscal year begins on the following June 1. If the projections are too low and revenues exceed projections, the money cannot be spent until appropriated by the General Assembly. If the projections are too high, the governor must withhold money that has been appropriated until he/she is comfortable that revenues will
be sufficient to support the appropriations. This is a constitutional duty of the governor and the withholding process generally works well when used appropriately. Second, the tax cuts we will experience are paid for with extra revenue the state received. In essence, the state is allowing the taxpayers that generated the growth in tax revenues to enjoy more of their income by taking less of their money in taxes. For individuals, this means they will enjoy a little more in their paychecks. Those that believe taxpayers know best how to spend their own money will applaud the tax cut, and those that believe the government knows best how to spend their money will decry the cuts. But the tax cuts would not have happened if Missouri did not generate significant growth in general revenue. The law requires the state to receive at least $150 million more in revenue than the most received in the previous three years. In fact, net revenues for the recently completed state fiscal year were $229 million more than the previous year, which happened to be the highest of the three previous years. Missouri collected more than a billion dollars more in FY 2017 than in FY 2014! Sharing some of this revenue with hard working taxpayers is absolutely the right thing to do. Missouri employers will also benefit from the tax cuts, thanks to an idea that was borne
y r o ict
in a conversation with one of my associationâ€™s members who pointed out that our efforts to help corporations by eliminating the franchise tax did them no good because they were organized, like 94% of all Missouri businesses, as an S Corporation, partnership or sole proprietorship. These businesses needed a cut in the amount of business income that is taxed on their personal income tax returns. We believe the new business income deduction will provide that tax relief. In tax year 2018, such owners/partners will be able to deduct five percent of their business income on their tax returns. If revenues continue to grow, there may be further cuts, but one should always ask if it is fair for those that have paid the taxes to share in some of the growth of those taxes? At Associated Industries of Missouri, we believe that is a smart strategy: allowing business owners to invest more in their businesses and employ more Missourians while giving more money to hard working Missourians to use as they see fit. Ray McCarty is the president and CEO of Associated Industries of Missouri and also serves as the executive director of the Taxpayers Research Institute of Missouri. He has worked with the legislature over the last 30 years, has studied the growth in state government revenues, and was one of the leading voices advocating for the tax cuts that will be enacted in 2018. Find out more at www.aimo.com
FR VICT ORY OM ENTE RPR
HAIR FOR WINNERS
RESULTS THAT FEEL AS GOOD AS ELECTION 7
Get Government Out of the Way
3.5 MINUTE READ ELIZABETH ROBERTS Executive Director Veterans Alliance for Compassionate Access Taking care of veterans is one of the few issues that seems to bridge the political divide these days. Regardless of our differences, everyone can agree on the need to
care for the men and women that served our country. But there isn’t always agreement on just what that care should look like. Lately a movement has been on the rise; and it’s a movement that has already taken root in our state. Across the country more and more leaders are reducing the barriers that exist between suffering pa-
tients and experimental treatments that might help them. This movement is called “Rightto-Try” and — unlike the sometimes deceptive and poll-tested names that some politicians dream up — it means exactly what it says. The Right-to-Try movement has a simple philosophy: Americans with intractable diseases should
have the right to get access to treatments not yet approved by the federal government. Imagine living every minute in pain because you suffered significant injuries in battle, or because untreatable, cancerous tumors are pressing against your organs. Now imagine there was an investigational treatment that might relieve
Elizabeth Roberts with fellow veterans and law enforcement. Left to right Gary Wiegert, Kyle Kisner, and Joshua Lee.
Elizabeth Roberts is the co-founder and executive director of Veterans Alliance for Compassionate Access. She served in the U.S. Army from 20042014 and currently resides in St. Louis, where she's undergoing therapy for a C5-C7 quadriplegic injury she sustained in an IED attack in Iraq.
your pain or extend your life, but a government agency wouldn’t let you because they haven’t finished a complex regulatory process. This is reality for too many Americans. Thankfully, that reality is changing. States across the country are pushing back against a federal drug approval system bogged down in red tape. Suffering patients don’t have time to wait for massive bureaucracies. They need access to treatment now. Since 2014, 36 states have joined Missouri in passing Rightto-Try laws and the U.S. congress is expected to act on the federal Right-To-Try bill this year. But we can do more. In 2016, Florida expanded their Rightto-Try law to include medical cannabis. In New York State, a bill is sitting on the governor’s desk that would give veterans suffering from PTSD the right to use medical marijuana. And this year, a Missouri House committee overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill sponsored by Republican State Representative Jim Neely, which would have expanded our state’s Right-To-Try law to include medical cannabis. Rep. Neely has been a champion for the terminally ill since being elected in 2012. He has a uniquely qualified perspective on this issue because he is a doctor, one of only four serving in the Missouri legislature. Rep. Neely knows firsthand how heartbreaking it is to see the suffering of patients and fellow veterans exacerbated by laws that prevent them from getting the care they need. Of course, cannabis — even for medical purposes — can be a hot-button issue. Elected officials are right to craft laws that focus on limiting fraud and abuse. Rep. Neely crafted a narrowly-focused law that would have expand-
ed terminally-ill Missourians’ access to medical cannabis while creating harsher punishments for criminals that target kids through the black market. I don’t pretend to be a medical expert. But I do trust my doctors, who say that many promising new treatments are bogged down in a federal regulatory process that stifles innovation. This is an issue that touches us all. How many of us have watched a friend or relative suffer with an intractable condition? How many of us have seen our loved ones stricken with cancer and enduring the brutal impact of treatment? How many of us know a brave man or woman who went to fight for this country and returned with injuries, visible or invisible? What if there was something you could do for that person you loved? Wouldn’t you try anything? Don’t veterans and terminally-ill Missourians deserve every possible opportunity to ease their suffering or save their lives? We may not all be doctors that can treat patients or medical experts who can cure diseases. But we are equipped to help these people all the same. We can make it easier for them to try new treatments. We can pass laws that are centered on what patients need, not what the government wants. We can support the elected officials who sponsor these laws and thank them for their efforts. We can speak, loudly and clearly, to politicians that would stand between the dying and even the briefest glimmer of hope. Let’s support patients’ rights. Let’s strengthen Right-to-Try here in Missouri to help veterans with intractable diseases. Let’s embrace any hope that suffering Missourians have to overcome intractable disease.
CONGRATULATIONS TO FRESHMEN REPUBLICANS ON A SUCCESSFUL FIRST SESSION Paid for by House Republican Campaign Committee INC, Eddy Justice, Treasurer.
P R O U D LY DRIVING MISSOURI’S ECONOMY
OPINION 3.5 MINUTE READ
REP. TRACY McCREERY State Representative 88th District “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines,” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote in his 1841 essay ‘Self-Reliance’ to encourage individualism—the belief that the interests of the individual should take precedence over the state or government institutions. A more apt comparison for today’s privacy debates could not be more appropriate. Privacy issues have long-dominated legislative debate on scores of issues including healthcare, law enforcement, and gun rights, to name a few. And speaking of hobgoblins, individual privacy has always been the devil in the details of several recent legislative issues. Concerns over privacy have consumed many hours of filibustering floor time in the Missouri General Assembly. Republicans elected to the Missouri Senate and House cited privacy concerns to obstruct legislation to create a statewide Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) that would help fight our opioid epidemic. But thanks to leadership by St. Louis County elected officials, counties have banded together to support the St. Louis County database which will soon cover over 70 percent of Missourians. In 2009, privacy concerns inspired Missouri Republicans to pass a law prohibiting Missouri
from complying with the federal REAL ID Act. Four years later, Republicans in the Missouri General Assembly criticized then-Gov. Jay Nixon for scanning, storing, and sending Missouri driver’s license records to the Obama Administration because some of the information could have included the names of Missourians with concealed carry gun permits. The Missouri General Assembly finally passed a bill allowing individuals to opt-in to obtain a REAL ID-compliant license in Missouri, but not without a filibuster and not before requiring documents used to obtain a REAL ID be stored on a server that is not connected to the internet. Emerson, of course, continued: “Speak what you think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day.” Emerson’s advice seems like a perfect defense for those politicians routinely criticized for saying one thing…but doing another. None more so than President Donald J. Trump. President Trump wants state election officials to send a trove of personal data about Missouri voters including names, addresses, dates of birth, the last four digits of social security numbers, political party affiliations, which elections they voted in, records of felony convictions, if they serve in the military or have ever lived abroad. Sore losers are to be expected. But maybe not unexpectedly, President Trump appears to be a sore winner. When candidates win, they normally celebrate then get to work. But not Trump. He’s pushing an investigation into allegations of widespread voter fraud that cost
Trump the popular vote via his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The uproar was immediate across the nation and across this region. Elected officials from solidly Republican-led states were as vociferously opposed to turning over voter data as Blue state officials. But not Missouri’s Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft. He eagerly leaped to comply. So it must be a great relief the Trump Administration has all but withdrawn this plan after more 44 states have rejected full compliance by refusing to submit all or some of the information requested. The American Civil Liberties Union filed a federal lawsuit over the lack of transparency by President Trump’s election commission. The commission held its first meeting without notice or making it open to the public. This process is cloaked in secrecy, raising serious concerns about its credibility and intent. The commission’s cunning crafters have much to gain from disenfranchising certain Americans. Voting is a right. It is the obligation of our local and state election authorities to do everything in their power to protect that right, including our personal detailed voting information. Staggering amounts of voter data may be kept by the federal government which is alarming. Hackers backed by the Russian government allegedly targeted election systems in 21 states last fall. State and local election officials claimed that election outcomes were not affected. If the right to privacy is paramount for our driver’s licenses and our gun permits, then the right to privacy should be sacrosanct for our democracy.
‘Simple Committee’ is the worst cliché 7.5 MINUTE READ
JANE DUEKER Attorney Spencer Fane
Soon after taking office and with great Facebook fanfare, Governor Greitens established his Committee on Simple, Fair, and Low Taxes (hereinafter the “Simple Committee”). It was almost as if he was the first politician to think that simple, fair and low taxes were a good idea. In the announcement release, the Governor proclaimed that “…no one asks hard questions about how the system works, or doesn’t work, for the people of Missouri.” “Insider” dinosaurs, like me, who have been working in and around state government for longer than a legislative term limit doubted whether a couple of bureaucrats and a group of current and former legislators could accomplish what nearly every other executive branch “task force,” “commission” or “committee” before it has been unable to, which is generate a comprehensive public policy report containing specific recommendations that actually gets implemented. Anticipating our doubt, the Governor scoffed that insiders would “throw a fit but [he was] ready for the fight.” Not only did the Simple Committee’s June 30 final report confirm that the insider dinosaurs were right again (that is how they become insiders and stay insiders), we are happy to report that the Governor has joined our ranks. Stripping out the comprehensive tax reform recommendations because merely discussing them (not to mention implementing them) could derail his aspirations for higher office was a top notch political insider move. It turns out the Governor really wasn’t ready for the fight. The Simple Committee could not break the invidious cycle repeated so many times by so many commissions before it. The cycle is cliché and the Simple Committee followed it to a “t”. The task force cycle begins with that sense of relief that an executive feels when they publicly hand over an overwhelming governmental problem to a group of others to solve. It is daunting to be in charge by yourself. The new executive is optimistic and genuinely believes the group of hand-picked experts is going to provide a turnkey fix that is so brilliant that smooth implementation will be a forgone conclusion. Seasoned executives, on the other hand, are happy to use commissions to push solving the problem off for a while. Announcement relief is followed by all the detailed policy work put in by committee members and staff…the public hearings, planning, organizing, researching, drafting, outreach, etc. Thankfully, there are countless think tanks, governmental associations, political groups, studies, national experts, 50 state surveys on nearly every possible policy issue under the sun. While absolute independent thought is not generally necessary, collating all of the disparate information, adapting it to Missouri and putting it into
a comprehensive plan that all the “expert” members can agree to is incredibly difficult and immensely time consuming. All of this detailed policy work culminates in a draft report that is forwarded to the executive for approval prior to public release. The executive reviews the report. That is when all hell breaks loose and abject panic sets in. The executive realizes that the committee has gone rogue and put together a plan that is fundamentally politically untenable and unattainable. It’s not even close. The executive has the inevitable epiphany that the whole commission thing was a mistake and has put him in a no-win situation. Ignore the report and you will be constantly asked about it, be forced to argue against your own task force and justify why you are ignoring it. Try to implement the unwieldly report and fail, you look weak. The mad scramble to contain the situation begins. That includes people throwing other people under the bus, massive editing of the report and endless negotiation with committee members until a politically palatable, “non-controversial” report emerges. All lofty thoughts of overhaul and comprehensive reform are out the window but more importantly the report is not a administration ender. The public release of the sanitized report returns the executive to where he started – relief. Most of the surviving recommendations are either so non-controversial or so vague that little action is required. Or better, some of the surviving recommendations are attractively populist yet completely unrealistic so the executive can use them to pound on legislative enemies when they fail to implement them. The cycle ends with a color bound copy gathering dust in a staffer’s drawer or becomes accessible only by a deep dive google search. Although I was not in the room or privy to the internal machinations that went on in the Governor’s office regarding the Simple Committee, there is strong evidence it went through the traditional task force cycle. The Simple Committee was ordered to evaluate Missouri’s tax policies and tax credit programs, compare them to other states, and “[r]ecommend comprehensive tax reform legislation to the Governor by June 30, 2017.” The Committee fulfilled its duties. We know they did because a draft of the report was leaked and it analyzed each and every topic ordered by the Governor. It comprehensively evaluated Missouri’s current individual, corporate, sales and fuel tax policies comparing our policies those in other states. It offered specific recommendations for tax reform legislation. It did the same analysis for the largest tax credit programs. Frankly, the report was some of the best public policy analysis I have seen in my 25 years doing governmental work in Missouri. Although, I certainly did not agree with everything in the draft report, it was well thought out, comprehensive, accurate and non-ideological. A good number of the recommendations in the draft were things proposed by Democratic Governor Bob Holden 15 years ago when Missouri was dealing with the budget crisis in the aftermath of 9/11. They were ideas worth discussing
then and are still good ideas. For example, Missouri is the only state in the country that gives employers a discount for timely filing of withholding tax. The draft recommended that loophole be closed. Governor Holden called on the legislature to close it in 2004. In 2004, the timely filing discount cost the state 18 million a year; in 2016 it cost the state 29 million. Missouri is one of only a handful of state’s that allows individual taxpayers to deduct their federal income tax from the state taxable income. The draft also discussed that because Missouri automatically adopts IRS code changes as they occur. Missouri may have to decouple its tax laws so that state revenues will no longer be affected by IRS changes. Finally, the draft advocated reducing the number of outdated individual income tax rate brackets to simplify our tax code. When the Simple Committee’s draft report discussing these reforms was leaked, it sent political shock waves across the state. There was panic because the draft report created the narrative that the Governor and/or the legislative members of the Simple Committee were advocating for tax increases…political suicide for Republicans in Missouri. Never mind that the report meticulously pointed out that the closing of certain outdated tax loopholes or giveaways would streamline our tax code, stabilize Missouri’s budget and permit a broad based tax cut to benefit more Missourians while remaining revenue neutral and increasing fairness. The political die, however, had already been cast. I can only imagine the mad containment that ensued to cause the Simple Committee’s final report to blatantly ignore the tax reform portion of the Governor’s Order. That entire discussion in the draft report was deleted and re-focused solely on tax credit reform. The “task force” “committee” cycle repeats. So much for comprehensive tax reform in Missouri, again. Although us insider dinosaurs saw this coming, that does not make it a good thing. While we insiders can appear to be a cynical bunch and it is easy to punch at our patriotism, question our loyalty to Missourians, and in my case question my physical agility, many of us are a dedicated bunch of governmental nerds who take the time to read draft and final tax reform commission reports. As most executives learn after struggling through one of these commission ordeals, handing it off to a group of people doesn’t alleviate the political courage, leadership and hard work necessary to get comprehensive reform done. Ask all of those who worked for more than 8 years to get the criminal code overhaul done. A lot of insiders came together to get that done and it wasn’t always politically expedient. That is the only time in my career that I have seen one of these Commissions type things actually work and it was still excruciating. So Governor, you are one of us insiders now. Maybe now that we are all insiders, we can get together and make some progress.
The State of Tobacco and Alcohol
5.5 MINUTE READ
ANDY ARNOLD Principal Consultant Arnold & Associates Being a lobbyist with over 17-years experience representing clients on issues related to tobacco and alcohol hardly makes me an expert on the application of the law. However, having been involved in discerning and dissecting these proposed changes for my clients over the years, has made me acutely aware of the negative impact a change can create at the supply, distribution or retail level. It all interconnects and a seemingly small change in one channel (cigarettes, OTP, liquor, beer or wine) can have devastating consequences. Tobacco: The sale of tobacco products are regulated under 2 categories in 3 chapters of Missouri law (Chapters 149, 196 and 407). There are “cigarettes” and there are “other tobacco products” (OTP). There are licensing and sales regulations at the manufacturer, distributor and retail levels for both cigarettes and OTP that include reporting requirements, age, point of sale and advertising restrictions that are prescribed by both state and federal law. There are also local ordinances to comply with regarding local cigarette excise tax, sales age limitations and licensing. Changes in state law have been the subject of legislation or ballot issues during the time frame I have worked on tobacco issues. The only changes in Missouri law during this time were to strengthen the state’s underage sales law, regulation governing grey market sales, requiring the use of reduced ignition cigarette paper in the cigarette manufacturing process and registration of tobacco manufacturers and products being the only areas of common ground. There have also been many attempts, both legislatively and at the ballot box, to change the state’s tobacco settlement escrow law to give the major cigarette manufacturers a sales advantage over their small competition, but the legislature and Missouri voters soundly rejected those efforts. The latest attempt/rejection was during
the 2016 general election where Missourians overwhelming rejected Amendment 3, a measure that imposed a huge tax increase on all manufacturer’s cigarettes and an additional tax on cigarettes produced by several small manufacturers. Amendment 3 was defeated 59 to 41 percent, an over 18% margin. There are also excise tax differences for cigarettes and OTP. This is an important distinction as cigarettes are subject to a per unit excise tax that calculates to a lowest-in-the-nation 17-cents per each pack of 20-cigarettes, whereas OTP is taxed at the rate of 10% of the manufacturer’s invoice price regardless of the number of units sold. This tax treatment difference is mostly overlooked, but has a significant impact on state revenues.
and unit sales decline, excise tax revenues decrease. However, as the price of OTP increases state tax revenues remain the same or increase. That’s the difference in a static tax based on units sold versus a static tax based on a percentage of the manufacturer’s invoice price. In 2006, the state collected just under $100M in cigarette excise tax (17-cents a pack) compared to a little over $83M in cigarette excise tax collected in 2016. That decrease in excise tax revenues mirrors the decrease in sales during that period. However, over the same period, excise tax collected from the sale of OTP as a percentage of the manufacturer’s invoice price has increased. In 2006, the state collected a little over $11M in OTP excise tax (10% of the manufacturer’s invoice price). In 2016, the state collected a little over $19M in OTP excise tax. This difference in tax treatment is not unique to cigarettes, it’s also used in levying other state excise taxes on things like motor fuels, liquor, wine and beer. As long as consumption remains the same or increases, excise tax revenues remain constant. However, when consumption decreases, excise tax revenues decrease. This is most evident in cigarette sales drops and the excise tax generated from those sales.
As long as consumption remains the same or increases, excise tax revenues remain constant. However, when consumption decreases, excise tax revenues decrease. This is most evident in cigarette sales drops and the excise tax generated from those sales. The legal definition of a cigarette under Missouri law is contained in section 149.011: “Cigarette” an item manufactured of tobacco or any substitute therefor, wrapped in paper or any substitute therefor, weighing not to exceed three pounds per one thousand cigarettes and which is commonly classified, labeled or advertised as a cigarette” Anything else is considered OTP. As the price of a pack of cigarettes increases
Alcohol: The sale of alcohol is regulated under a 3-tier system by chapter 311 of Missouri law. There are licenses for the manufacture, distribution and retail sale of alcohol broken down by product. There are licensing and sales regulations at the manufacturer, distributor and retail levels that include reporting requirements, age, point of sale and advertising restrictions. There are also local ordinances governing licensing and hours of operation. Basically, alcohol is broken into 3 categories:
intoxicating liquor, beer and wine. All three categories are heavily regulated and include on-premise consumption (liquor by the drink license) and off-premise consumption (package license). There are multiple licenses depending on the entity being licensed and the products wanting to be sold. Changes in state law have been the subject of legislation during the time frame I have worked on alcohol issues. The most recent changes coming during 2016 and the 2017 legislative session. During 2016, growlers, beer on tap poured by off-premise licensees and beer coolers offered by beer manufacturers were approved. While the cooler portion of this bill was somewhat controversial from a craft beer manufacturer point of view, there doesn’t seem to be an immediate impact from this change. Legislation was also passed during the 2017 session to allow a resort to sell intoxicating liquor from a still located in direct proximity of a resort, to change the state’s interstate shipment of wine law and to allow faster label approval. These changes contained in HB 115 have yet to be approved by Governor Grietens at this writing. There were also attempts during the 2017 session to liberalize restrictions on the use of sales rebates and coupons and to allow below-cost advertising as a loss leader, to allow central warehousing and to allow logo promotional merchandise. None of these issues reached final passage. These issues are favored by the large out-of-state retail operators and opposed by a coalition of Missouri based retailers. The under-cost selling issue, rebates and coupons were also confused by an on-going federal lawsuit that challenges the state’s ability to regulate below-cost advertising. The 1st amendment to the US Constitution regulates free speech, but the 21st amendment gives the states the ability to regulate the sale of alcohol, including imposing reasonable restrictions on free speech when there is a compelling state interest. As this is yet to be determined, there is a reluctance to make any major changes.
Andy Arnold formed Arnold & Associates in 1991 and has been representing clients with members of the Missouri Legislature for over 25-years. During this time Andy has represented Missouri based tobacco wholesale and retail businesses and liquor, beer and wine retail businesses. Arnold & Associates currently represents HUB, Inc - Wholesalers of Cigarettes, Tobacco Products & More; and, Randall’s Wines & Spirits.
3.5 MINUTE READ
Cyber Security And The Grid We’ll Leave the Lights on for You (If We Can)
JOE ABRENIO President Midwest Cyber Security Alliance The U.S. power grid plays a vital role in the nation’s health and welfare. The U.S. relies upon a consistent and continuous supply of electrical power to fuel transportation, power its industries, and sustain its healthcare system. Yet, this critical asset is often taken for granted, even though just a minor disruption of the vast network of our power grids could have devastating impacts. The loss of power—in even a small, isolated area—can leave homes without heating or cooling, interrupt local businesses, and down traffic control devices. A regional or national disruption could bring commerce and manufacturing operations to a halt, or even worse, disable critical care and surgical facilities. The ripple effects could mean catastrophic economic loss or loss-of-life. Furthermore, the short-term and long-term national security implications that would arise from an attack on our critical infrastructure would be significant. The goal of this white paper is to provide a deeper understanding of the role of the grid in our critical infrastructure paradigm; the current grid regulatory scheme; and the technical and non-technical cyber threats facing the grid, including legal liability for operators. As an introduction, we provide an overview of critical infrastructure and specifically, the power grid, as well as technical and non-technical issues facing the grid. Next, we offer an
overview of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) Standards that provide a regulatory framework. Finally, we address best practices, risk mitigation, risk transfer methods, and security risk assessments in the context of operations, IT operations, and compliance. We live in a connected world where critical infrastructure in general and the power grid specifically play vital roles. Without a consistent and reliable supply of electrical power throughout North America, nearly every aspect of everyday life would be negatively impacted. In the event of a long-term outage (more than a couple of days) that covers a wide area, the economic impacts would be staggering. Were such an outage to occur during either cold or heat temperature extremes, the loss of life could number in the tens or hundreds of thousands. These are very real and very dire implications that will arise should the power grid suffer an outage. This paper discusses some of the implications of a power outage and looks directly at the cyber security implications for the grid utilities. Furthermore, it outlines how utilities can bolster their cyber security and mitigate some of the risks that they face. No one would deny the importance of the power grid within a critical infrastructure paradigm. Following the widespread media coverage of high profile cyber-incidents (the Sony Hack, the Stuxnet Virus, the OPM data breach) no one is denying the fact that cyber-attacks are occurring all around us. Consequently, security through obscurity is
a fools’ errand. Grid utility companies must face the reality within which they now operate; cyber-attacks are ongoing, and any industry within the critical infrastructure framework is going to be an attractive target for a myriad of reasons. This paper demonstrates how following the NERC CIP guidelines is a very good first step towards addressing cyber security needs and issues. However, that in and of itself is not enough. Grid utility companies must embrace the stark new reality and consider the implications of everything they do within all the areas in which they operate. The costs of baking-in cyber security in a technical sense to their ICS and SCADA systems must be balanced against the potential costs that a widespread outage could inflict as both financial loss and legal liability. Grid utility companies must move towards greater cyber security hygiene. This includes both technical and non-technical issues facing the grid as well as the human element which is often the weakest-link in any cybersecurity initiative. The cost of doing nothing is too great. In an uncertain legal world, mere compliance with NERC CIP guidelines may also be insufficient to avoid legal liability. Therefore, companies should take a proactive approach to ensure that cyber security is not an afterthought or a checkmark on a framework. Cyber security must be an integral part of each and every project, and considered within every aspect of the grid utility operations.
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POLITICAL PROS YOU NEED TO KNOW
These are the “men in the arena,” the people behind the people making history. They’re the lawyers evolving policy, the communicators putting out messages, the consultants moulding campaigns, and the leaders influencing progress. They rarely get public acknowledgement for their late nights, strained eyes, and ravaged nail beds, but Missouri would not be the same without them. The Missouri Times editorial board reached out to readers, pulling out 50 political professionals you need to know.
David Barklage/Barklage & Company How did you get into politics? I was elected student body president in high school but was clueless about the purpose of politics. I found my true inspiration at a week-long political leadership camp and knew it was my calling. My first political job was with Congressman Bill Emerson. He is one of the most decent people I've met in politics - he truly cared about everyone on an individual level. What does a “normal” day look like for you? There are no normal days. That's why I like politics - everything is a new challenge or a new problem to be solved. Very seldom do two days ever look the same. What is your favorite part of your job? Strategy. There's nothing more thrilling than putting the pieces together today, working to ensure they come together tomorrow, and envisioning what the field will look like in a year. Oh, and occasionally being right.
Stephanie Bell/Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch How did you get into politics? Both of my grandfathers were elected officials – I remember going to political rallies and campaigning as early as elementary school. My love for public policy and politics took hold at Truman State University after participating in student government, completing an internship, and volunteering on campaigns and at the University of Missouri where I completed my Master’s of Public Administration. What does a “normal” day look like for you? My ideal day starts early with coffee, a good podcast, and a scroll through Twitter. I usually start my work day with a list of goals and projects, but many times that list is interrupted by other issues that need immediate attention. A lot of what we do isn't "normal," which means we are often under tight deadlines or some type of expedited review. Still, most days include three of my favorite things: research, reading and writing. My best days end with reading to my three kids: Drew (5), Amelia (3), and Eden (8 months). What is your favorite part of your job? I love the fact that my job offers me an opportunity to think through really interesting issues and tough questions of law. I also like the fact that the law is ever-changing, so I'm constantly learning something new. The best part is the people -- the other attorneys at our firm and our clients are a constant source of inspiration as they are all seeking to excel in their own area of expertise and make an impact on their communities and beyond.
Angela Bingaman/St. Louis Public Eye How did you get into politics? I have always been fascinated with the political process since I was a little girl. Memorably, during the 1992 presidential election, my 6-year-old self was neither enthralled by George H. W. Bush nor Bill Clinton, so I successfully lobbied my first-grade class to vote for Ross Perot. During college, I naturally majored in Political Science, however, I had plans to pursue a career in writing/English literature. However, life never goes as planned and I found myself dialing for dollars at Wash U's Alumni Center to earn extra cash--and I was good at it. Really good. Asking people for money apparently isn't a skill everyone naturally possesses so this experience led me to campaign fundraising during the 2008 election cycle. I got my first fundraising gig as an assistant on Clint Zweifel's campaign, which in turn, opened a lot of doors for me. Over the last 10 years, I have been blessed to serve as the finance director for Mayor Slay, Charlie Dooley, Jamilah Nasheed, Scott Sifton, Cora Faith Walker, John Wright, Tishaura Jones, among others. What does a “normal” day look like for you? My days consist of call time, kids, and cats. And sometimes coffee, although I gave up caffeine for the most part. I'm lucky to have a lot of flexibility in my schedule as my children are my priority. I have a newborn and two young school-aged children and they will always come first, which has made me quite disciplined and efficient about my work/life balance. I say no when I need to and I believe it has made me more successful. I wake up around 6 a.m., get my older kids off to school, hike in the park near my home and then start my work day. I usually have call time with a client for at least half of the day and spend the other half working on Public Eye projects, setting up fundraisers and completing follow-up work. I don't take days off but I am creative about when and where I work when I'm not with a client or on Washington Avenue. Sometimes I'm taking a donor call whilst diaper-changing or toddler-wrangling, sundress-shopping or pizza-eating. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is getting to know elected officials/candidates as people. Fundraising, by its nature, is very much a one-on-one occupation. By spending countless hours calling donors with a candidate, I've learned a great deal about the clients I work for--their quirks, habits, and personalities beyond press releases or stump speeches. I've always been fascinated by people and what makes them individuals. Because of this, I am able to tailor my fundraising programs based upon what works for the candidate. Believe it or not, fundraising is not onesize fits all--it's a significant exercise in humanity and relationship-building more than it is a numbers game.
Titus Bond/Remington Research How did you get into politics? My mother, Linda Bond, was a conservative activist starting in the late 80s. As she worked on campaigns, I would volunteer with her. She got to know Jeff Roe in 2000 when he was managing races for Todd Graves and Sam Graves. When I graduated from high school, my mother called Jeff and asked if he would hire me as an intern. Fifteen years later I’m still working for the same boss, but things have sure changed a lot. What does a “normal” day look like for you? No days are what you would classify as “normal.” But, I do try to stay in a routine as much as I can. I still utilize a daily “to-do list.” If you’re too proud to keep a to-do list then you are not long for the world of politics. Public opinion research is heavily detail oriented. Data pulls, electorate modeling, drafting of surveys, crosstab presentation, and coordinating with phone firms to collect interviews are all a part of putting together a survey. Typically we are at one of those points with a handful of different clients all across the country every day. During an election year we are doing so many different surveys we package and produce results in the evenings. This means a lot of late nights because we don’t complete voter interviews until late in the evening. This year, with so many competitive elections, this off-year has more closely resembled an election year. We did daily tracking on each of the special elections this year just completing GA-06 and SC-05. What is your favorite part of your job? Constantly testing our methodology and pushing our standards to the limits. We are constantly testing new methods. Research and development is very important to our firm. We refuse to be left in the past with dated research methods. I would also be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy getting calls and texts from some of the most accomplished political professionals asking me what I thought of a particular race.
Richard Callow/St. Louis Public Eye How did you get into politics? Politics is full of people missing one important skill. I figured out that I could supply it, whatever it was. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Tweet. Read tweets. Tweet. Tweet. Read tweets. Read John Combest, Rachael Herndon Dunn, Dave Drebes. Apply coffee. Read a bunch of newspapers. Start a fire somewhere. Blah, blah, blah. Check on the fire. Tweet. Go to sleep. What is your favorite part of your job? Writing. Words works.
friendly. Good journalists, media organizations, and influencers of public policy making and debate need all sides of the story.
Jack Cardetti/Tightline Strategies How did you get into politics? My first job out of college was working as a communications assistant for Attorney General Jay Nixon in the basement of the Supreme Court building. My boss at the time was Mary Still, which is why it took me several years to realize that Jeff City was indeed a good old boys club. Mary was a blast to work with and could hold her own in any argument or smokefilled room. Hank Waters once described her in an editorial as petite but pugilistic. Truer words have never been spoken. What does a “normal” day look like for you? I start the day by reading Combest and end the day by seeing what/whom Jeff Mazur is mocking on Twitter. Isn’t that how we all spend our days? In between, I take pride in being able to help our clients come up with big-picture strategies and then go out and execute those strategies. There are a lot of consultants that are good at coming up with ideas and there are others that are good at implementing. At Tightline Strategies we take pride in being able to do both. What is your favorite part of your job? Call me old fashion, but I love interacting with reporters. Almost to a person, reporters are smart, honest, dedicated professionals that do their job out of love for their community and sincere desire to uncover the truth. Journalists do this despite low pay, zero job security, terrible hours, and Internet trolls, including our current President. So any time I get to match wits with a good reporter on behalf of a client is time well spent. PHOTO/MIKE WATTS
Scott Charton/Charton Communications & Consulting How did you get into politics? I was hooked on the Senate Watergate hearings as a 12-year-old who should have been outside that summer. The newspaper, TV and radio coverage inspired me to become a journalist. The first politician I interviewed as a 16-year-old small-market part-time radio newsman? Arkansas Attorney General Bill Clinton. What does a “normal” day look like for you? A walk at dawn, then Coke Zero with cable and online overnight news reviews. Breakfast bacon worship, which requires lots of napkins for mid-meal texting. Media contacts for newsrooms' coverage planning meetings. Otherwise, mornings are in blocks for reading, research, and writing. In-person meetings for lunch and throughout the afternoon, in Jefferson City, Columbia or on the road. Breaks for dog petting, cigars, hammocks and family fun. What is your favorite part of your job? Taking charge in storytelling. Every client has their side to a story. But if they don't tell their side, someone else will, and it may not be fair, accurate or
Rich Chrismer/Seen, Read, Heard How did you get into politics? My starting point was an internship in Washington, D.C. for then-Congressman Jim Talent in his committee office when he was chair of the House Small Business Committee. I knew very early in my career that I wanted to be involved in the communications side of government and politics and I’ve been fortunate to have had so many opportunities to do what I love. The mentors whose counsel opened many doors for me in my professional life include Senator Talent, Governor Matt Blunt, Steve Hilton and Lloyd Smith. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Every day is about working the plans we help our clients develop to achieve their communications goals. That includes driving and delivering a proactive message in the heart of the 24-hour news cycle, working with third-party stakeholders to generate a surround-sound effect in service to that message, leaving no charge unanswered and ensuring all communications, from traditional to social, are on brand. Setting aside blocks of time for uninterrupted writing, reading, and critical thinking is essential to my day. So is keeping in constant touch with professional friends, colleagues, and new contacts to stay informed and identify opportunities. What is your favorite part of your job? Nothing gives me greater professional satisfaction than helping a client achieve the desired result, especially if they may not have expected it or thought it was possible. As the founder of a boutique public relations firm, getting real results for the people who put their faith and trust in your work is truly fulfilling. I’m lucky to have the opportunity to do what I love every day.
John Combest/JohnCombest.com, Monsanto How did you get into politics? On what I expected to be a mundane day my junior year at Hazelwood East High School, I attended a compulsory, all-day seminar at UMSL as part of the Citizenship Education Clearing House (CECH) program. A panel discussion on state legislation featured a cadre of seasoned liberals (Democratic state reps and Post-Dispatch reporters) and a sole conservative. During the Q&A section, I defended the conservative, a GOP candidate for state rep, and afterward his campaign manager - Jim Davis of Hazelwood - introduced himself. That weekend, I began my campaign addiction helping with mailers and knocking doors. Our candidate won, and I was hooked for life. What does a “normal” day look like for you? I wake up at an ungodly hour, get on my knees, and thank God for the multitude of blessings He has given
me, none of which I deserve but all of which I am grateful for. I open my email and check my texts for links to articles sent to me by elected officials, staff, reporters/editors, consultants, lobbyists, and grassroots activists. I reply and thank those folks for their help - I couldn't do my website without them - and upload the day's headlines by 7 a.m. to get ready to head to the office. I'm fortunate to work in communications and public relations for Monsanto, where I help our company tell the story of how modern agriculture helps farmers produce more food and fiber while using fewer natural resources. But the most important part of my day - and the most important title I have - is being a father. What is your favorite part of your job? On an internal level: I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and my ritualistic review of political news articles - every day for 15+ years - brings a sense of productive peace and serenity to what was too often a chaotic life. On an external level: As far back as 2001, I've always gotten a kick out of hearing people tell me how the website helps them be better informed as lawmakers, aides, journalists, lobbyists, and citizens. Today, as everyone has 24/7 access to breaking news, it's rewarding to know I help decision-makers put the big-picture coverage into context each morning.
Nancy Cross/SEIU 1 How did you get into politics? I was first active in politics in college - on campus and also in area races. I "got" into politics in Missouri when most of the political staff I worked with left for national positions and it was an election year. The following year, there was proposed legislation which could have had a negative impact on our membership. As a result, we put a program together and had members meet with their legislators and we won. What is your first professional priority? The first professional priority for our members is to work with the membership to keep moving towards reaching economic and racial justice for our members and all working people. This is more than just getting raises through contract negotiations. We also want to help build wealth for our members personally and within the communities in which they live. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Winning for our members - either by winning better wage increases at the bargaining table; working on legislation that benefits members in their community.
Scott Dieckhaus/Palm Strategic How did you get into politics? I have been interested in politics since I was eight years old. When I began my teaching career in 2002, I told my wife that I wanted to find a way to get plugged into Republican politics; we looked around and found the Franklin County Young Republicans
in October of 2002 - about three weeks before the General Election that year. I immediately jumped into knocking doors and phone banking for local and statewide candidates, which allowed me to meet people like Susie Eckelkamp, Dave Hageman, and Gus Wagner. I stayed involved with the YRs and served as President of the group from 2005-2007. In 2007, my State Representative, Kevin Threlkeld, made the decision not to pursue his final term in the House, and I decided to get into the race. What does a “normal” day look like for you? It is tough to typify a normal day in this line of work, as they are all different, and things change rapidly. There are, however, a few constants - I wake up each morning and check on how my fantasy baseball team did the night before and set my roster for the day, I read political news from about six or seven sources each morning, and I spend most of my day talking on the phone, in meetings, or working on my computer. What is your favorite part of your job? I love working with people, competition, and winning.
for office as well. From about 4th grade on, I knocked on many doors and marched in many parades. This experience inspired a genuine interest in politics and public policy, it showed me the importance of women's civic engagement. It also prompted me to pursue a career in non-profits which led to my current role at Women's Foundation where we conduct research and work on policy solutions to economically and civically empower women of all ages. What is your first professional priority? At Women's Foundation, we are focused on research-based policy solutions that reduce barriers for women to succeed economically. These solutions include, but are not limited to, occupational licensing reform to make it easier for women entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, paid family leave, and our Appointments Project that empowers more women to lead on public boards and commissions. What is your favorite part of your job? I enjoy the diversity of each day -- each day is different; and that I get to meet Missourians from around the state, which is a wonderful gift. I love hearing people's stories and making connections.
Wendy Doyle/The Women’s Foundation How did you get into politics? I was raised in a family that was very politically engaged, with several members of my family running for local elected office at various times. My dad was Johnson County Clerk for 18 years, I had an aunt who ran for office and my twin brother successfully ran
Alison Dreith/NARAL How did you get into politics? My mom taught me from a young age to always stand up for “the little guy.” That’s certainly always where my heart’s been. But I didn’t get my start in politics and organizing until I worked with communities to protest the anti-worker trade policies under
the Bush administration, such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas. After the 2008 election, I relocated to St. Louis to finish my degree in political science with a focus on conflict studies. I was fascinated with how opposing parties in Northern Ireland were able to come together to settle their differences through the peace process. If they can figure out how to move past hundreds of years of religious and cultural differences, then surely we can get past our surface political disagreements here in the US. That’s why I’ve never given up on the belief that good people will always be able to work together--as Democrats, Republicans, and independents--to make Missouri an even better place to live. What is your first professional priority? I won’t lie: being a pro-choice activist in Missouri can be a demanding job at times. Everybody knows that women in Missouri face some of the most extreme restrictions on access to abortion and basic healthcare in the nation. And Republican leaders continue to pursue even more restrictions once they’re in office like the governor did with the special session. But access to healthcare isn’t a partisan issue when it comes to the women and families that need it. Conservative Republican women decide to have an abortion just like everyone else, and that’s a right that should be there for them when they need it. Plenty of pro-life women count on their birth control to decide when they’re ready to raise a family, as well they should. And I think we can all agree that nobody should face discrimination at work because they choose to use in vitro fertilization to grow their family. This is all basic reproductive healthcare that directly affects the financial security and wellbeing of women and families across Missouri. At NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, we fight for these women and their rights regardless of political affiliations and we
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do it every single day. What is your favorite part of your job? The best part of being Executive Director at NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri is listening to women who share the story of their abortion with me. Often, these women have never even met me before, but want to get involved after having an abortion themselves. They want other women to have the same opportunity and support they did. Many of these women are mothers just hoping to provide the best for their family (nationally, about 60% of women who have abortions are mothers already). When women open up about their personal experiences it’s never about politics or partisanship. It’s just about their own lives and a medical decision that they decided was right for them and their family. Hearing their stories is, for me, a priceless responsibility, and one I am honored to carry.
Marc Ellinger/Blitz, Bardgett, and Deutsch How did you get into politics? I was born into politics. Both my mother and father were very active in politics both locally and statewide. I worked as a volunteer from as early as I can remember. After law school, I worked as litigation counsel for State Auditor Margaret Kelly. When I left the state, I simply continued working in politics. What is your first professional priority? “Normal” is a tough one. If I’m in town, every morning starts at Coffee Zone (Rocket Fuel and lots of it!!). After that, it seems like a constant sprint of calls, emails, and meetings. If possible, I try to have lunch with my wife, Chrissy, each day; however, she works full-time also (SVP-HR for Central Bancompany) so sometimes we just can’t make it work. I frequently am working remotely late into the night from home or on the road. What is your favorite part of your job? The best part of the job is working with great people on very unique issues that improve Missouri.
Farrah Fite/Missouri Bar Association How did you get into politics? If you don't count the "Vote for my Daddy!" t-shirt I sported when I was five during a local sheriff 's race, it was when I was a local television reporter covering state government and Missouri politics. I then joined the Senate Communications team. What is your first professional priority? Communicating and promoting - using traditional and new media - the wide range of services and resources The Missouri Bar makes available to its members, lawmakers, the media, educators, and the citizens of Missouri. What is your favorite part of your job? I'm most passionate about shaping messaging that makes sure audiences get “what’s in it for them” and exploring new platforms to best communicate in the ways our audiences prefer.
Estil Fretwell/Missouri Farm Bureau How did you get into politics? My involvement in politics began after graduating from college in 1974 and taking a job with the Missouri State Senate. For the first time, the Missouri Senate and House were hiring their own appropriations and research staff, and I was among them. After working four years for the Senate, I ran and was elected in 1978 to the Missouri House of Representatives for the 1st District in northeast Missouri. I served there eight years and made the decision not to run again because of a young and growing family. The position of state lobbyist for Missouri Farm Bureau (MFB) became available, and I applied and was hired. I remained in that position until 1997 when I was named the MFB Director of Public Affairs. What is your first professional priority? During my tenure with MFB, no day looks “normal.” The diversity of the job is one of the reasons why I have stayed this long with the organization, combined with the fact that I enjoy working with agriculture (I grew up on and still have the family farm) and that I am involved with governmental policy making (which I have done all my life). MFB touches every aspect of agriculture and every county, so I have the opportunity to develop relationships throughout the state and work on behalf of farmers and ranchers in telling their story. I still lobby some on specific issues and am blessed to work with great colleagues and staff. In my personal life, “normal” is spending time with my wife, kids, grandkids and returning to the farm. What is your favorite part of your job? With the opportunities and experience I have been fortunate to have over the past 43 years, I can testify that a person who is willing to get involved – and maybe take a few lumps along the way – really can make a difference. It is no doubt the most rewarding part of my job.
John Gaskin/St. Louis County NAACP How did you get into politics? I have been around politics nearly my entire life. I actually grew up spending spring break in Jefferson City with my grandparents during my grandmother's time in the state house. My fondest memories are Holden's amazing inauguration, Catherine Hanaway's no-nonsense leadership style on the House floor, the Legislative Black Caucus conference at Tan-Tar-A at the Ozarks and caucus meetings. It is hard to grow up around politics and not gain a sincere interest. In short, I got into politics from being around it growing up. What does a “normal” day look like for you? A normal day for me starts at 6:00 a.m. down at the Missouri Athletic Club where I work out daily. Following my workout, I head to my office in Clayton where I check my multiple email accounts and return
phone calls. There's always someone calling about a policy issue that the NAACP needs to address. There is also always someone who wants to meet about something important. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is seeing people get the help that they need. Seeing policy changes take place that will empower our community's most vulnerable can be extremely encouraging. I also love to see when millennials get involved in making a difference whether it is through running for office or initiative petitions.
Steve Glorioso/Glorioso Resources LLC How did you get into politics? I got involved in "politics" as a high school student going door to door in Gladstone, Missouri, with my mother to campaign for my stepfather who ran for city council. That was in the early 1960's. Politics was discussed at home, both local and nationwide. In the end, I became a Democrat, to the consternation of my two Republican parents! What is your first professional priority? Priority----elect more Democrats especially re-electing Claire McCaskill. I work mostly, however, on local ballot issues. What is your favorite part of your job? I really enjoy most interacting with voters. Seriously, even it sounds corny to some. During campaigns, I make a point to go out several evenings each week to neighborhood meetings to listen to what average voters are saying.
Lara Granich/Missouri Jobs with Justice How did you get into politics? I was working for neighborhood associations in North St. Louis and got involved in the successful campaign to pass a living wage ordinance in the City of St. Louis in the early 2000s. What is your favorite part of your job? One-on-one conversations with people hearing what they deeply care about. My days are full of the privilege of listening to all kinds of people - a retired school teacher in Blue Springs, a wealthy attorney in Clayton, a utility lineman in Piedmont, a McDonald's worker in St. Louis, a foundation executive in Springfield. You might be surprised how much they have similar hopes and anxieties. The best days I get to connect these people with each other and they find they have unexpected allies in making Missouri a better place.
Channing Grate/GPS Impact How did you get into politics? My first job in politics was working at MSHC, a Democratic mail firm in DC. I had just graduated from college and had no clue what I was doing, but instantly fell in love with the fast pace and camaraderie that comes from working long hours for a cause you believe in. Then George W. Bush was re-elected as President, which at the time felt like the worst thing that could ever happen in the world. Little did we know. What does a “normal” day look like for you? I’m sure many people will say this, but there are very few “normal” days. Especially not since January. The few constants are sleepily scrolling through Playbook first thing in the morning, juggling multiple projects while still trying to set aside time to think strategically and creatively, and conference calls. What is your favorite part of your job? That’s easy: writing. Whether it’s 140 characters or 14000, I really enjoy creating clear and persuasive written content on issues that matter. That, and developing creative ways to get a message across using multiple platforms with (ahem) minimal jargon.
Jim Gwinner/LS2 Group How did you get into politics? As a freshman at the University of Missouri, my college advisor Dr. Richard Hardy and his teaching inspired me. Within three weeks of setting foot on campus, I decided that I wanted to make a difference by supporting candidates and policies that allow all Americans to prosper through the benefits of owning, investing, and building businesses. It was my college internship at the Missouri Republican State Party in 1990 that further ignited my passion for politics and campaigns. I worked that summer under the tutelage of key staffers Tony Feather, Tony Hammond, and the late Pat Fusselman. After graduation, Tony Feather put me to work with former State Senator Carl Vogel who was running his very first race. It was for State Representative in 1990 and we shared office space next to State Senator Larry Rhorbach. Even with the long hours and miles of door-to-door canvassing, I was hooked. While I was motivated by lobbying and campaign work then, I am now working primarily in grassroots and communications activities. I can’t imagine doing anything else. What is your first professional priority? Integrity – without that you cannot take care of your clients. Maintaining and growing my reputation for hard work and honesty for my clients and peers is
my key to the success that I’ve achieved. What is your favorite part of your job? The people. I’m a grassroots/grasstops person by nature and I get a charge from making connections, and hopefully friends. I work with some pretty amazing professional colleagues. Internally, I’m in awe of our junior staff at LS2group. They are more accomplished and doing far more than I was at their age. I’ve been fortunate to have great partners to collaborate with at my firm – working on projects from local to national interest. Externally, I get to work with those great clients and peers every day. I collaborate with some of the best and brightest in the industry whether at the state capital or around the nation.
Brent Haden/Haden & Haden How did you get into politics? I’ve always been interested in politics, but my first “political” job was as an attorney and lobbyist for the Kansas Livestock Association. I later worked as Chief of Staff for Kansas Speaker Mike O’Neal before moving back to Columbia to open my law firm. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Most of my time is spent helping farmers, ranchers and other businesses navigate legal issues, including fights with state and federal agencies. Many of the legal issues facing agriculture and small businesses
are a complex mix of common law, statutory law, and regulatory rules. I’m always looking for potential legislative solutions to go along with conventional legal solutions for my clients. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of my job is helping farmers and small businesses beat back the federal government. Federal regulatory agencies often threaten private sector businesses with economically devastating fines and penalties for small, accidental transgressions. I love going to bat for my farm and business clients and getting wins against abusive bureaucrats.
Dave Hageman/Victory Enterprises How did you get into politics? I had been working in real estate in Jefferson City right out of high school and I decided to take an internship at Congressman Todd Tiahrt’s office in Washington D.C. I start on September 1, 2001. Ten days later, when 9/11 happened, I decided I would spend the rest of my life electing good people to public office who could make a positive difference in our country. I came home, worked on House races for HRCC in 2002, and in 2004 became the Executive Director of what is still an incredible organization. I’ve never looked back. What is your first professional priority? The great thing about Victory Enterprises is that I’m able to pursue my interest in technology and business while pursuing my passion for politics. I very much enjoy campaigns but take greater joy in working to hire great people and build a strong, national company that is leading the way in media, data, technology, and politics. What is your favorite part of your job? I love the people. Nothing is better than watching good people grow within our business while electing good people to office. Our company’s growth has been extremely rewarding as we’ve grown from a regional firm with work in mainly the Midwest to a national firm involved in political and public affairs campaigns for candidates for president, Fortune 500 companies, and national trade associations.
John Hancock/Hancock and Prouty How did you get into politics? I started working on campaigns as a 13 year old in 1977. Worked with local and state government officials to save the Scott Joplin House from 1978 to 1981. I have been involved in every election cycle in Missouri for 40 years. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Conference calls. Client relations. New business pitches. Media relations. Writing and implementing campaign and communication plans. Media appearances. Crisis Management (when necessary). What is your favorite part of your job? Working with clients who are genuinely high-quali-
ty individuals and organizations. After all these years, we get to be selective in who we work with and that makes the job extremely enjoyable!
Chuck Hatfield/Stinson Leonard Street LLP How did you get into politics? During my Sophomore year of undergrad at MU, I interned in House Communications, writing press releases and summarizing legislation. Then over Christmas of 1987, I was looking for a job and some extra money. I had a choice to work at Sears or to do data entry from some guy named Jay Nixon, who was running for U.S. Senate against Jack Danforth. I spent much of Christmas break hunched over a computer in an office in the basement of the Columbia Strollway Center next to a punk rock bar named Shattered. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Usually, I start by checking my Twitter feed and a quick check of my Clash of Clans app to see if I have been raided overnight. I usually have a quick staff meeting to start the day at the office and then at least 60% of my day is conference calls with the other 40% or so being writing or editing legal filings. What is your favorite part of your job? I really enjoy the interaction with other professionals who refer me work, which is a significant chunk of my practice. Being part of a team that involves lobbyists, communications professionals, and other lawyers off of whom I can bounce ideas and strategy gets me energized.
Gregg Keller/Atlas Strategy Group How did you get into politics? Volunteering (and then working full-time) on Jim Talent's victorious 2002 U.S. Senate campaign. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Typical DC day: hustling from one meeting to the next followed by drinks, dinner, and cigars with friends. Typical STL day: marathon conference calls and spreadsheets. What is your favorite part of your job? Delivering service in a weird little niche (center-right coalition building) at a level few others can, with great clients across a broad range of industries at the federal and state levels.
Brad Ketcher/Ketcher Law Firm LLC How did you get into politics? I worked on Mike Wolff ’s 1988 Attorney General campaign. That led to advising Governor Carnahan’s
1992 gubernatorial campaign and a long stint on his office staff, serving as legal counsel, legislative director, and Chief of Staff. What does a “normal” day look like for you? A normal day involves working with companies, not-for-profits, and political organizations around the state and country on their campaign and advocacy efforts. It typically involves fusing legal and political advice. What is your favorite part of your job? I enjoy working at the intersection of law, public policy, and politics on the significant issues of the day--- both in Missouri and around the country.
Robert Knodell/House Republican Campaign Committee How did you get into politics? When I was a kid, I really enjoyed following current events as well as studying history, and I was always very competitive. Those passions, combined with parents who were politically active and teachers in civics and social studies who challenged me to dig deeper and to learn more, seemed to lead me into politics. Southeast Missouri had emerging Republican leaders like Mark Richardson, Peter Kinder, and Bill Emerson who really inspired me to become involved. What does a “normal” day look like for you? I don’t know that there is ever such a thing as a normal day, but the biggest bulk of my days this time of year are spent recruiting House candidates for future elections and working with our staff to do all we can to maintain and grow our majority in the Missouri House. What is your favorite part of your job? Without a doubt, it is the opportunity to work with and to mentor young, up-and-coming campaign staffers. Many key positions in Republican politics here in Missouri and beyond are held by HRCC “alumni” who got their start in campaigns working for us, and we try to make it a valuable, worthwhile experience. I’m very proud to see many of our staffers advance into very successful careers, and I enjoy maintaining those friendships.
Joseph Lakin/Victory Enterprises How did you get into politics? Growing up in Iowa, I got the political bug at a very young age. I volunteered on some campaigns in college and started my career as a legislative intern at the Missouri Capitol through Missouri State's internship program in January of 2008. I got hired to work on some Missouri House campaigns in 2008 by Robert Knodell and the HRCC team and was involved in two successful races, even in a horrible year for Republicans. I saw firsthand the impact that I could have on the outcome of elections, even as a college senior, and have been involved in politics ever since. What does a “normal” day look like for you? First and foremost, every day starts with coffee
(usually lots of it). I try to avoid morning phone calls so I can focus on knocking out client tasks. Beyond that, the day usually includes afternoon check-ins with clients, dealing with crises that pop up and collaborating with our awesome digital team at Victory Enterprises on digital and growth strategies for our growing digital business. What is your favorite part of your job? Executing a winning strategy. Politics is full of unknowns and to me, developing a winning plan and effectively executing it is the greatest part of my job. Too often, people in politics and public affairs obsess over opponents and the things beyond their control. I try to plan for those things but instead of obsessing over others, I obsess over the things we can control. Winning is great but it's most rewarding when a thoughtful and well-executed strategy makes the difference.
Patrick Lynn/The Kelly Group How did you get into politics? I was drawn to politics through the study of history, but my career choice is really because of the individuals who sparked my interest in contemporary politics and provided me the job opportunities to prove myself. Many people helped me, but I owe the most to Sam Page, Gerard Grimaldi, Richard Martin, Susan Harris, Bob Holden, Julie Gibson, and Michael Kelley.
What does a “normal” day look like for you? It's a cliché, but there really are no normal days. It's either juggling a dozen issues at once or "all quiet on the western front." That's why so many of us are manic/depressive. What is your favorite part of your job? On campaigns and in government, I have always been fortunate to be surrounded by very talented individuals. But my friends at The Kelley Group are some of the smartest, hardest working people I have met. They keep me young, and because of their abilities, we are able to provide our clients with effective and comprehensive political and advocacy campaigns
Mindy Mazur/GPS Impact How did you get into politics? My first job after college was working on the legislative staff for Congressman Ike Skelton in his Washington, DC., office. It was through Ike and his team that I was truly inspired to make a difference through public policy. Since then, my career has included a mix of state and federal government service, campaigns, and nonprofit work. I like to work in roles where I can make a positive impact for the greater good. In my current role with GPS Impact, I get to do that for a variety of clients. What does a “normal” day look like for you? I roll out of bed, tag team with my husband Jeff to
get our daughters up, fed and ready for school, then I head to the office or to a meeting. My days are dynamic and fast-paced; depending on the day, it’s any combination of meetings, calls, traveling, advising, brainstorming, drafting, and reviewing materials. An average night is a dinner with family, maybe a kids’ activity and then usually getting back on my computer after that. What is your favorite part of your job? My job is very rewarding. I’m lucky to work with wickedly smart, funny and talented teammates at GPS Impact. I’m fortunate to get to think strategically and creatively for mission-driven clients who are working to improve people’s lives every day. I’m blessed to also pursue causes I care about, like connecting good people and good causes, helping people find jobs and mentoring.
Matt Murphy/St. Louis - Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council How did you get into politics? After many years in journalism, I was offered the opportunity to work as a press secretary at St. Louis City Hall. Because I was already familiar with the issues and the political players, the move from reporting on politics to working in politics was a pretty smooth transition. What is your first professional priority?
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Above all else, my goal is to tell the stories of the hard-working men and women who make up our organization, and who quite literally spend every day building Missouri. Unfortunately, the political climate in Jefferson City right now seems indifferent to the people who are the backbone of this state. Whether it's "right to work," prevailing wage or other job-killing legislation, many of us feel that we are under attack by the lawmakers elected to represent us. What is your favorite part of your job? It's never dull. We have a very busy communications office and today's proliferation of media platforms gives us limitless possibilities for videos, pictures, graphics, articles, etc., that tell our stories, reach the public quickly and spark action.
Sam Murphey/Monsanto How did you get into politics? I first became interested in politics as a journalism student at Truman State University. On a whim, I reached out to then-Attorney General Jay Nixon’s office about a summer internship, and I ended up working with amazing folks like Mary Still, Scott Holste and Jack Cardetti. Needless to say, I was hooked, and I’ve worked in and around politics ever since, including as Gov. Nixon's communications director through January 2013. What is your first professional priority? My first professional priority is to use my skills and experience to tackle important issues and challenges. Today, I’m focused on helping Monsanto deliver tools and innovations to help our customers make agriculture more environmentally sustainable. I’m also passionate about offering advice to the next generation by volunteering with programs like Missouri Boys State. I also serve as a member of the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and as a board member of Missouri's LGBT equality group, PROMO, and Doorways Interfaith Residence. What is your favorite part of your job? I love working with smart, passionate and competitive folks with diverse backgrounds and points of view. I also love the challenge of communicating complex issues through concise, compelling and persuasive language.
Sean Soendker Nicholson/GPS Impact How did you get into politics? I first got the bug at 4-H conferences in Jefferson City and Washington, DC, and things snowballed from there at Mizzou. I’ve had the chance to work on campaigns across the country — from Rhode Island to Washington to Louisiana, and now back again in Missouri. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Few days feel normal, but I’m lucky to get to work with really smart people at GPS Impact who do amazing things in digital storytelling, online advertising, traditional communications, and movement building.
Most days have a mix of all the pieces. What is your favorite part of your job? The best days are the ones when we can see the real impact of our work — electing great leaders, advancing good policy (or stopping bad ideas), and building up a movement that moves us closer to an America that works for everyone.
Margaret Onken/Hawthorn Foundation, Nixon for Missouri How did you get into politics? I really stumbled into it. I took a job at the ACLU – as a Republican! -- and soon after rethought my political affiliation. I volunteered on a couple of St. Louis City races before meeting a young Attorney General Jay Nixon in 1997. He was running for the U.S. Senate against Kit Bond, who founded the Hawthorn Foundation. It's a small state when your former boss' opponent is now your foundation's biggest cheerleader! What is your first professional priority? The first professional priority is always to conduct yourself and your campaign operations at the highest ethical and moral standards. I've spent my career working on issues that I believed in and was proud to champion. The long hours are worth it when you lay your head on the pillow at night and know you've done some good. What is your favorite part of your job? Missouri is a beautiful state. I love meeting community leaders from every corner and learning about the issues that affect their schools, businesses, farms, and families. It's often a challenge to bring together such diverse viewpoints, but figuring out where and how those groups intersect is a fun problem to solve.
Kathy Osborn/St. Louis Regional Business Council How did you get into politics? I have always had a love for our community and our state and have spent my career getting involved to be a change agent for the better. From my early days in higher education to my position now working with the business community, looking ahead and envisioning a better future has been my motivation. What does a “normal” day look like for you? The good news, from my perspective, is that I don’t have a “normal’ day. The Regional Business Council’s objective is to put its considerable talent, resources and determination behind business, civic and philanthropic priorities where we can make a substantive difference. Thus, the civic and business agendas in the community and the state drive where I spend my time. What is your favorite part of your job? Working successfully on initiatives that move our communities forward for the next generation and encouraging tomorrow’s leaders. I find great inspiration and joy in working with the next generation through our Young Professionals Network. I was particularly
pleased recently when we were able to support an initiative to make sure our police officers in St. Louis County received better pay.
Lowell Pearson/Husch Blackwell How did you get into politics? In college, I ran for and won a seat in the Associated Students of the University of Utah General Assembly. What is your first professional priority? Representing clients aggressively and passionately, while being respectful of opposing counsel, judges, legislators and executive branch officials. What is your favorite part of your job? Trials. Nothing is as much fun.
Steph Perkins/PROMO How did you get into politics? I come from a large family of people who instilled in me the value that we each share the responsibility to make the world a better place. When I was in college, I had an opportunity to work with the University administration to educate them about the needs of transgender students. I was surprised by how long it took to make any significant change, even when there were administrators advocating for that change. This helped me quickly learn the importance of making sure younger students continued the work long after others graduated. I really loved that long-term approach and the strategy of ensuring that multiple generations and people from all backgrounds could be empowered to all work toward one goal, no matter how long it took. Because of their similar values and approach, I started my professional career with PROMO as a part-time field organizer in 2008. After serving in several roles with the organization in Springfield, MO, I moved to St. Louis with my wife when I accepted the Executive Director position in 2016. What is your first professional priority? In 2008, I started working with folks in Springfield to pass a local non-discrimination ordinance that would protect people from being fired, denied housing, or refused public services simply because of who they are or who they love. That ordinance finally passed in 2014, but it was repealed by voters 51%-49% after an intense, beautiful campaign to keep it. People and businesses in Springfield really stepped up (and have continued even after the repeal) to ensure Springfield is a more inclusive, welcoming place to live and work, regardless of what the law says. Because of that repeal, it is, once again, legal to be fired or kicked out of your home just because you are gay or transgender. What is your favorite part of your job? Working alongside other incredible people, whether it's the rest of the team and board at PROMO, elected officials who are champions for the LGBTQ community, business and community leaders, or folks
who are still figuring out where their place is in this work. The stakes are often high, and I am so honored and inspired to be a small part of this large movement to make Missouri a more welcoming and inclusive place for LGBTQ people and their families.
Mike Pridmore/Independent Democratic Strategist How did you get into politics? I majored in sociology at UM-St. Louis, but politics at that point was more of an interest than a potential profession. After the 2004 presidential election, I decided it was time to quit watching from the sidelines and get involved. I worked briefly for SEIU in Ohio, but Missouri is where I wanted to be. My first campaign experience was as a volunteer for Jeff Smith's 2006 state Senate race and then I worked as a field organizer for Claire McCaskill's U.S. Senate campaign that same year. More than a decade later, I'm grateful to continue to have the opportunity to work with so many great candidates and campaigns. What is your first professional priority? My professional priority is to help campaigns generate and optimize the resources needed to win races
in a challenging state, and to be able to bring value to the campaigns I work with. What is your favorite part of your job? I work on the campaign side, so my job usually ends soon after Election Day. The most rewarding part for me is seeing the work candidates I work with do in their official roles. Seeing the work Jill Schupp does in the MO Senate or watching how Clint Zweifel and Nicole Galloway have operated as statewide officials, for example, is rewarding. Stephen Webber lost a tough state senate race last year, but it has been amazing to watch him excel as the new chair of the Missouri Democratic Party. The work these candidates do matters. The people we elect to do these jobs matters. I'm grateful to be able to play even a small role in helping some of those candidates along the way.
Jonathon Prouty/Hancock & Prouty How did you get into politics? I did not come from a political family, but after some activism as a teenager, I found myself volunteering for Jim Talent’s get-out-the-vote effort in 2006
and happened to be paired with a volunteer in town from DC, who, after a few hours of walking, took me out to lunch. He suggested I consider serving as an intern the next summer (something I had not previously considered) and connected me with the RNC. I applied and was placed in then-co-chair Ann Wagner’s office. When I was looking for a job a few years later, her staff introduced me to John Hancock, who took a chance and hired me on at his new consulting firm. That led to the MRP Communications Director position, to the MRP Executive Director job, and now to my current position as half of Hancock & Prouty. Success in politics is all about working hard, building strong relationships, and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. That is certainly true of my career, which I can trace directly to a chance lunch at Chuck’s Bar & Grill 15 years ago. What does a “normal” day look like for you? There is no such thing as a “normal” day. Any given day may see us digging up dirt on a political opponent, raising money for a campaign, executing a grassroots advocacy plan, crafting advertisements, managing a client through a crisis, or one of many, many other things. What is your favorite part of your job? I love that I get to do new and different things on a daily basis—and that I may end the day doing something entirely different that I expected to when I woke up. Also, working from home and being my own boss is a nice change of pace.
Jonathan Ratliff/Palm Strategic How did you get into politics? When I was a kid I was a drummer in several bands and I definitely thought I was going to be a rock star someday. Not wanting to be a starving artist, I asked myself, “What is the closest thing to being a Rock Star?... A politician!!” So I went to college, traveled the country on Romney’s first presidential as a freshman, joined the College Republicans and made a lot of friends in that great organization, worked on Senator Schaefer and Congressman Luetkemeyer’s first campaigns and somewhere along the way decided I was much better suited to be the guy behinds the scenes rather than the candidate. Robert Knodell gave me the best opportunity a young staffer could ask for when he hired me as the HRCC Political Director. Great mentors like Robert Knodell and Scott Dieckhaus are who got me into this work and are the ones who keep it worth doing. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Ha, a “normal day”, I am not sure I know what that is. Campaigns aren’t normal and that is what makes them so much fun to be a part of. The only normal part of my day would be the dreaded 7 a.m. conference calls that seem to continue on throughout the day but then by 8 a.m. the whole plan for the day is out the window. My days often seem like test cases for the chaos theory and I love every second of it.
What is your favorite part of your job? The favorite part of my job is getting to work with so many different and uniquely interesting people. Helping good people get the opportunity to serve and better their communities, our state, and this nation. I would be lying though if I said I didn’t love the game. The high-stakes poker of campaigns, sometimes years in the making, that as a consultant in the end puts my candidate verse their candidate(s), to see who on election day made the right decisions enough times to come home with the W. Working at HRCC for six years, we made a habit of winning and it is not a habit I look to break anytime soon.
Collin Reischman/UFCW655 How did you get into politics? I’ve always been an absolute geek for politics. But I guess my “official” start came when I was the first reporter ever hired by The Missouri Times. I spent a few years in Jefferson City doing nothing but meeting elected officials, staffers, lobbyists, and writing stories about the politics of the Show Me State What does a “normal” day look like for you? A normal day starts on social media. I comb elected officials, news organizations, and those folks that are “in the know” to see what’s happening in the world. I spend a lot of time crafting content for social media or the press. There’s usually a portion of my day ded-
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icated to the stuff I do as part of a larger coalition on issues like minimum wage, so-called Right-to-Work, and more. So conference calls and chain emails are a big part of my life. What is your favorite part of your job? I get to spend a lot of time talking about the good things that a lot of organizations do, and hearing how people’s lives can be improved gives me a little faith in humanity.
Ed Rhode/Rhode Communications How did you get into politics? The politics of the 1992 presidential election was fascinating - and I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The following year, I went to work for then-Majority Leader Congressman Dick Gephardt. What does a “normal” day look like for you? In the world of communications, no two days are ever the same. It is crucial to stay constantly connected, and the content of messaging has never been more important. I spend my time ensuring that my clients’ messages get out accurately. What is your favorite part of your job? Winning. Whether it is a campaign, legislation, ballot issue, or just winning the day. I like to see positive change from my efforts. Some are immediate while some are long term.
Miles Ross/Veritas Public Relations How did you get into politics? I have a degree in finance but have been extremely interested in politics and government since I was a kid. Right after college, I started volunteering for different campaigns and going to different events. Eventually, then-Congressman Roy Blunt offered me a position helping his re-elect. Since then I have been fortunate to work on many federal, state, and local campaigns, non-partisan issues, lobby work, and official policy work. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Usually, my day starts at 6 or 7 a.m., going over the day’s news and checking up on any client-related news articles. By about 8 a.m. I have had my first round of calls and emails setting the day's agenda. From about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. is when I try to get any meetings that are needed over with. I like to have the rest of the day to wrap up any loose ends. I have a same day rule for phone calls and email where I try to get them answered that day (with some exceptions). By 6 p.m. I try to eat dinner and workout until about 8 p.m. if there isn’t a political event that night. I should note that this is the day I strive for, but most of the time it is just organized chaos, which I love. What is your favorite part of your job? Honestly, everything, but if I had to pick one thing it would be that no two days or the same. No matter what I have planned for the day, it always changes. For me, that keeps things interesting
Nick Schulte/Axiom Strategies How did you get into politics? My background is in corporate finance and project management. In early 2012, Axiom was looking to expand its mail program and needed someone with that kind of experience to oversee operations. A good friend of mine was working for Axiom at the time and put me in contact with Jeff. I interviewed, was offered, accepted, sold my house and moved to Kansas City to get to work. What does a "normal" day for you look like? A normal day: Out of bed around 7, spend 30-45 minutes answering emails and planning the day. In the office around 8:30, kicking off a whirlwind of campaign strategy calls, vendor management, and team meetings to map out advertising plans and creative. What is your favorite part of your job? Far and away it’s my team. I’m blessed to work with a group of great and talented professionals committed to doing the best job possible for our clients. I learn something new from them every day.
Anne Schweitzer/St. Louis Public Eye How did you get into politics? I spent much of my Catholic education in the principal's office for disagreeing with one thing or another. It was a great starter course for Missouri politics. What is your first professional priority? Making sure Callow doesn't set anything on fire. What is your favorite part of your job? It's a tie between my bunk desk and live tweeting really long committee hearings.
Kendall Seal/The Women’s Foundation How did you get into politics? I was born this way. My first campaign experience was handing out gum for a candidate at a rodeo sponsored by the local saddle club. I met a lot of people and learned some new words that came in useful later in life. What is your first professional priority? Be gracious, keep it classy, and work harder and smarter than the competition. What is your favorite part of your job? Public policy work is very dynamic. My favorite part is the opportunity to be innovative with a great team.
Megan Shackleford/The Kelly Group How did you get into politics? Visiting my Grandpa Duke at his office at the Missouri AFL-CIO as a kid was one of the first things that inspired me to be interested in politics. Later, my first job was as an office assistant at the MO AFL-CIO and I knew I wanted to work in politics. What does a "normal" day for you look like? The best part is that there is no "normal" day. It's rare to have two similar days in a row, but lots of coffee and a good lunch are constants. What is your favorite part of your job? The people I work with. The team at The Kelley Group is so smart, dedicated and fun. We are lucky to work on challenging and interesting projects and it's really great to do that with some of my favorite people.
Wes Sutton/House Republican Campaign Committee How did you get into politics? I've had an interest in government and politics since early in high school. I started volunteering quite a bit for campaigns for local elected officials, primarily State Representative Ellen Brandom and Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson. During that time, I got to know and become good friends with now-State Representative Holly Rehder while she was working for Congresswoman Emerson. I was 20 years old when she hired me to be her campaign manager for her first state representative race in 2012. That successful campaign was my first real piece of political work. What does a "normal" day for you look like? A normal day depends on whether we are in or out of session. During session, I staff the majority caucus for Speaker Todd Richardson. This involves taking care of the caucus' priority legislation, working with members to help advance their own individual priorities, and generally helping to keep the House majority caucus one of the most effective legislative caucuses in the country. Once session ends, I spend quite a bit of time on the road, visiting our members with Todd, assisting Robert Knodell and Casey Burns with Missouri HRCC campaigns and being an extra adviser for members on any issues that may arise. What is your favorite part of your job? I love being able to serve Speaker Richardson and such a large House majority caucus. I've always been a House guy both on the campaign side and the official side and being able to have a job that serves both functions is truly a treat. Having worked as a field staffer for HRCC in 2014 and a regional staffer in 2016, I've seen quite a few members learn to be top notch stewards for their district and the state as a whole. Being part of building such a geographically diverse caucus is amazing and means we get to have viewpoints from all areas of our state when we craft legislation that truly is beneficial to all of Missouri.
Christine Tew/Missouri Soybean Association How did you get into politics? Entirely an accident - I wanted a career in ag communications and had a mentor in Jefferson City who introduced me to someone hiring. Working with public policy wasn't on my radar at the time, and I didn't know about JohnCombest.com until my second week on the job. What does a “normal” day look like for you? It starts with caffeine and news clips, beyond that, the lack of a “normal” is part of the fun. What is your favorite part of your job? Good people, and good news – I’ve been fortunate to work with incredibly smart, motivated people and to have positive things to share more often than not.
from our policy director working under the dome. My inner nerd also loves learning new things every day. It’s an exciting place to be and I’m grateful for the opportunity to make my little corner of the world a better place.
Christopher Till/GovWatch How did you get into politics? I first got into politics in 2004 as a volunteer for the Clay County Republicans. Then, after a stint overseas in Iraq, I helped as a volunteer for the Kenny Hulshof campaign in 2008. In 2010, I was elected president of the Clay County Young Republicans and worked on Myron Neth's successful campaign. I then worked in-district for Myron after he took office. I just wanted to make a difference in my community after serving six years in the Army Reserves. What does a “normal” day look like for you? A normal day for me begins with double checking everything that happened the day before with the legislature. Then I come over to the Capitol to double-check the committee boards while also checking in with subscribers who I may run into. When the House and the Senate go into session, my sole focus is on what is happening on the floor. I have to pay attention to detail because, on occasion, the committee chairs will change the location of a hearing on the floor and never post in on the website, this way our subscribers get the most up-to-date information. I then try to attempt to get to one or two committees a week to do committee news. After keeping track of all committee actions and floor actions, I then finish my night by making sure that all the new statutes and versions of bill text are on our website for our subscribers to search. At the beginning of session, my day ends about 6 p.m. As we get into session, the day usually ends at 9 p.m. or 10 p.m. with times getting later as we get towards the end of April and into May. What is your favorite part of your job? The best part of my job is getting to meet the different people from all around the state who want to make a difference and work to make Missouri a better place. It doesn't matter what party or ideology you have, I have met nobody who is only in it for themselves. Everybody has the same goal of making Missouri a better place, they just have a diversity of ideals to get us there and that is a great thing to be able to see.
Ethan Todd/The Barklage Company How did you get into politics? In elementary school, I helped my father campaign for local office - I was hooked. After college, I had the choice between a full-ride to law school and a career in politics. More than 50 candidate and issue campaigns later, I haven’t looked back. What does a “normal” day look like for you? A normal day at The Barklage Company? Yeah, right. What is your favorite part of your job? Election night. After months of long days and nights in the office - sitting around a boardroom table, analyzing polls, developing strategy, and drinking gallons of coffee - I finally get to see the end result. Helping my clients reach their goals never gets old.
Alexandra Townsend/AFSCME How did you get into politics? I've been interested in politics since I was a kid in late elementary and early middle school and I can remember begging my mom to take me to the local campaign offices to join debate watch parties. In college, I started volunteering on campaigns and after graduating, jumped feet first as staff on two presidentials before joining AFSCME and starting my career in the Labor Movement in North Dakota. Being able to represent public employees and the work and services they provide is definitely the best job: AFSCME members are the backbone of their communities, ensuring that all of us have access to high quality public services. What does a “normal” day look like for you? A normal day can be anything from prepping public workers to talk with their elected officials about issues they care about to knocking doors for candidates who support working families to researching and understanding impacts of different public policies to communications to meeting with coalition partners to grow the movement, among other things. What is your favorite part of your job? It's difficult to say what my favorite part is. Running campaigns and getting to meet so many amazing public employees who love their jobs caring for their communities not just here in Missouri but across the country is so much fun and getting to know them and advocate and campaign alongside them is definitely high on the list!
Daniela Velazquez/Missouri ACLU How did you get into politics? I didn’t intersect with politics until I moved back to my hometown of St. Louis after spending nearly eight years covering news in Florida. My first foray into political-like work was as a communications and civic engagement consultant for the Ferguson Commission. I then did some consulting and volunteering work for a few statewide races in Missouri. Now, I help shape conversation about political issues through a constitutional rights lens at the ACLU of Missouri. What is your first professional priority? My first professional priority is to make sure we talk about our cases and causes in a compelling and accurate way. Sometimes, it feels a lot like being a reporter when dealing with legal nuance – however, it’s important to be precise. It’s also a priority to make sure we’re connecting with the people whose rights are at stake. We want to tell their stories authentically, as well show our members and social media followers why their support is critical to protecting the rights of all Missourians. What is your favorite part of your job? No day is ever the same. One day we may be filing a lawsuit that will make headlines statewide, another day I might be getting nonstop text updates on a bill
Emily Waggoner/Missouri Democratic Party How did you get into politics? I got started in politics as a volunteer knocking doors for Senator Claire McCaskill. The summer after I graduated high school, I spent hours every day canvassing in Jefferson City, Columbia, and Ashland. I really enjoyed it and continued volunteering throughout the election, ultimately helping train other volunteers in Jefferson City when I wasn't in class at Mizzou. I loved getting the chance to talk to my neighbors, people in my community, and folks in other towns. What is your first professional priority? It's always ensuring that our team is putting the thoughts and concerns we're hearing from Missourians first. We've made it a priority to show up and listen to people in every corner of our state - and it's up to us to seek out, amplify, and prioritize what Missourians are saying. What is your favorite part of your job? My favorite part of the job is traveling the state and talking with folks about why they’re fired up to be a part of the political process. There's no doubt that a renewed Democratic enthusiasm is rippling across our state. It's exciting and energizing, and I’m always inspired by the work Democratic volunteers, local leaders, activists, and organizers are doing in their own communities.
Gus Wagner/The Rocket Group How did you get into politics? When I was a much younger Missourian, my Dad (points to sky) was one of those dudes who frequently shook his fist at the county courthouse because of the condition of our road. That's where I learned advocacy and communication and that politicking and governing are two very different things. I have since proceeded to a life of shaking my own fist and having others fists shaken at me. What does a “normal” day look like for you? As our work with #RuralElectric Cooperatives across the country, Missouri agriculture, and others, is often impacted by the weather, the first thing I check is national weather forecasts, then reports from our 24-7 overnight digital monitoring staff, then news and industry headlines, then staff reports, then I go to the office for the rest of my day. What is your favorite part of your job? Creating. From words to pictures, to video, to legislation, to relationships, I have always loved creating things in my professional life. Being able to create messages which move hearts and minds and real world action on a daily basis is something I treasure
personally and professionally.
Chastity Young/Missouri National Education Association How did you get into politics? Both my parents were involved in local politics through their union memberships. I grew up attending candidate screenings and working the polls and helping out with Teamsters' Union events. What is your first professional priority? Integrity. What is your favorite part of your job? People who are working every day (that's most of us!) need some help amplifying their voice! I love empowering others and seeing the positive impact on local communities.
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Alex Zumsteg/Palm Strategic Why did you get into politics? I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love politics and the political and legislative processes. So it just seemed natural that I would find myself in the political field doing something, although I never thought it would be my career. What does a “normal” day look like for you? Well, there are no normal days. Days also differ between campaign years and off years. It thought I would have slower paced summer and fall this year. It isn’t looking that way, but I wouldn’t change it. There is always something to do and that is one of the many things I love about this job, never a dull moment. What is your favorite part of your job? By far it is the people I meet and have the chance to work with. That might be a candidate, a super volunteer, or my fellow team members. Each campaign I have worked on, you and the people around become like family. Once you have made that friendship, you have it for life.
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Lion of the Senate? 8.5 MINUTE READ
BENJAMIN PETERS THE MISSOURI TIMES “Senator, would you consider yourself to be the Lion of the Senate?” The question was put to Sen. Bob Dixon by Sen. Jason Holsman back in early May, while the Senate debated the topic of REAL ID on the floor. Dixon had risen to speak several times throughout the session, always in times of turmoil and emotion on the Senate floor. Each time, he stole the moment with passionate words, carefully weighed and measured, delivering his message with an eloquence that came as everyone sat in hushed silence, listening intently to the Senator from Greene County as he waded through the mire to calm his colleagues and remind them of their duties. The phrase “Lion of the Senate” was coined and became the trademark of Sen. Ted Kennedy, who was often hailed for his strong oratorical skills and his fierce determination to fight for liberal causes in the Senate for so long. In fact, Kennedy still stands as the fourth-longest-continuously-serving senator in U.S. history. The title could be taken to mean a number of things, especially since it is famously tied to the Democrat, but in truth, it’s all about the courage and heart of a lion, someone with strength to stand and fight. Holsman says he would describe a Lion of the Senate as someone who is capable of independent thought, selfless consideration and choosing courage over comfort.
But, Dixon said to Holsman, that was not him. He said he believed that title belonged to the Senator from Clay County, whom he called fearless. It’s a sentiment that Holsman echoed. “In the Missouri Senate we have a Pride of Lions. Sen. Silvey has a rare courage to speak truth to power which inspires the Pride to follow his leadership,” Sen. Jason Holsman said. “He was cut from cloth left by the old Senate before term limits and political expediency rooted out independent thought and action.” And Sen. Ryan Silvey has shown himself to be someone who does not back down from confrontation throughout his time in the Missouri General Assembly. In the contentious fight to bring REAL ID to the Show-Me State, Silvey finally came out on top with the passage of HB 151, a bill he drafted to perfectly compromise and allow the citizens of the state to choose whether or not they wanted a REAL ID compliant identification card. “He comes up with innovative ideas. I’d point to what happened during the last weeks of session, with HCB 3,” Sen. Bob Dixon said. “it was a moment of Senate unity that was very beneficial for the Senate. We’ve had a difficult couple of years. And being able to think outside of the box is what all of us try to do, and he does that very well. You have to be somebody who can think for themselves in order to think outside of the box.” But Silvey’s history as a legislator has often seen him at odds with both leadership and his own party, which for the Senator from Clay has often walking a lonely road. He famously stood against Republican Gov. Matt Blunt while serving the House, working to fix the system that allowed the standing governors to award contracts to their friends or those whom they may have owed favors to. He proposed that they put the jobs out for a competitive bid, which the Blunt administration did not agree with. But Silvey took a long term approach and got the Democrats to join the opposing side. When Blunt left the office and Gov. Jay Nixon took over, the Republicans flipped, and the Democrats had already been supporting it, leading to nearly unanimous support. Just this session, Silvey was squaring off against the President Pro Tem, Sen. Ron Richard, on a number of topics, ranging from alleged pay-to-play legislation to the questioning of ethics, which eventually led to the Senator from Clay releasing a sarcastically written letter sent to Richard, which referred to the latter senator as “Ronnie”. The fact that Silvey was not included in the budget conference committees was noticed by many, marking the first time in at least six years in which Silvey had been excluded. But, in the end, Silvey said that his decision to vote in favor of fully funding the education foundation formula, which he says led to his exclusion, was worth it. “Fully funding the foundation formula was my biggest priority in this budget, so since that’s already taken care of, I’m fine,” he told
the Missouri Times after receiving the news he would not be on the committees. In fact, the House photographer during Silvey’s tenure there said he could never find a photo of Silvey smiling on the floor. Silvey explained that’s because the only time he ever got up to speak was when he felt it was required that he stand up and fight on whatever issue was at hand. But Silvey’s background could provide some answers as to how the senator learned to act with such prowess. “I really got interested in public policy, back in high school I did policy debate, and that’s really what got me involved in politics: policy and solving problems.” He did debate for three years in high school and four years in college, and landed a job under the prominent U.S. Senator Kit Bond right out of school. He worked in his office as part of the legislative staff, where he said it became clear that he enjoyed the work and became interested in the other side of it: pushing the policy into action as a legislator. His original plan was to go to law school, and said that he had approached Sen. Bond about it. “He convinced me that I should take a shot and said that it was something I wanted to do, I should just do that,” Silvey said. “That’s what led me to run for state representative.” Silvey went on to win the special election for the seat in 2005. “When I first ran, I was not the party-chosen candidate. In that race, I just did what I thought I needed to do and never looked back.” His tenure there saw much experience gained on the floor and in committee, and his abilities with the budgeting process were widely noticed, leading to his appointment as the youngest budget chair in the history of the state. For Silvey, it’s never really been a question of party politics, but rather trying to do what’s best for his constituents and the state. And that has often put him on the opposite side, due to the fact, in a world where Missouri’s political climate seems to be run by politically radical hardliners, Silvey has remained one of the most moderate legislators in the building. “I haven’t changed so much as the party around me has changed. If you look through the history, the pendulum continously swings back and forth. And I think right now, we’re more in an extreme right pendulum swing, and I’m more of the center-right. I don’t think moderate is a dirty word, but I still consider myself to be conservative. I consider myself to be pragmatic. You can’t solve problems with ideology, you solve them with pragmatism.” And that’s been evidenced by his work as the House Budget Chair. Silvey’s time as the chair saw the first unanimous votes in the budget committee in modern times, as far as anyone can recall. But Silvey says the job of a lawmaker has never been about voting party lines, but representing the will of the constituents. Geograph-
ically speaking, Silvey’s district is one of the smallest in the state, but it’s also one of the most divided in terms of party lines. The leaning is typically more liberal, but the split is very evenly split, maybe 54-46. “To represent the district that he was elected from, he has to be somebody like himself. He has to be able to stand up and say “that’s not going to work for my district” even though leadership wants it, because your first responsibility as a legislator is to the people that sent you there. He’s an example of somebody that can do that and do it well,” Dixon said. “Most of them don’t consider themselves to be a Democrat or Republican; they’re typically more independent and tend to vote for the person rather than the party. I heard that thousands of times from people, and they tend to split their tickets all of the time,” Silvey said. “They’re looking for someone to be honest with them, for someone to be genuinely working on solutions and not just toe the party lines. A lot of times on a particular issue, I just try to think of what would be a reasonable solution and what the people back home would be proud of, and that’s what I do.” It doesn’t matter to me if that’s what my party wants to do, what the other party wants to do, or if it’s what either party wants to do. That’s really inconsequential to me as far as what the solution is.” And while it could be seen as a sort of stubbornness or arrogance, Silvey says his intent is never to cause undue trouble. That doesn’t change the fact that how people perceive could mean something else. And in today’s political environment, standing on the losing side could mean the end of a political career. Silvey, however, remains steadfast in his position. “The only political danger a Senator should ever fear is losing the support of those for whom you speak,” Holsman said. “In that building, your word is your bond, and you either have that bond or you don’t. Sen. Silvey is a person of impeccable integrity,” Dixon agreed. “You may not like what you hear, but you can trust it. You can’t say that for everyone.” Whatever the case, Silvey has been a strong legislator, using innovative ideas and strong relationships to try and come to the most reasonable solutions. It’s who he has always been since taking office, and who he intends to be. Long after leaving the Senate, his work will be remembered, as both a staunch opponent and a calming voice of reason. And his work to fight for Missouri, his constituents, and the Senate. “One thing people don't see is Ryan's deep appreciation for our collective role in preserving the Missouri Senate as a chamber of equals designed to protect the people against political passion,” Holsman said. “I think it’s been a very good thing for the Senate that he has been there at this time,” Dixon said.
Polling success and how they achieved it 4 MINUTE READ
KADEN QUINN THE MISSOURI TIMES In 2014, Remington Research was created by Axiom Strategies founder Jeff Roe in an effort to offer affordable polling options in a time when they were limited. Over the past few years, the firm has gained quite a strong reputation for themselves as their accuracy in the prediction of outcomes in recent elections has been more than precise. Remington’s success can even be seen going back to their very first endeavor in the polling business. Seeing an opportunity to gain credibility, the firm put themselves out into the public by releasing a series of challenging surveys. These surveys included the 2014 Democratic Primary for St. Louis County Executive where they concluded that former St. Louis County Councilman, Steve Stenger would defeat incumbent, Charlie Dooley in a landslide for the position. At first, the firm was mocked for their prediction by the community at large. That is until the day after the election for St. Louis County Executive. Although, Strenger did not win by the landslide that was originally predicted, his unprecedented victory helped prove that Remington was more than reputable. Additionally, Remington was also the only polling firm to accurately predict the outcomes of the Kansas U.S. Senate and Kansas Governor in 2014. Both of these events added to the firm’s much needed and deserved credibility. Their reputation as one of the most reliable polling firms was hammered home when presidential candidate, Donald Trump complemented the firm on their accuracy during a rally in Ohio, referring to them as being a “highly respected” reputable source when announcing
that his campaign was four points ahead. “It really helped when we were releasing surveys that were at odds with conventional wisdom and other more established polling firms,” Director of Polling for Remington, Titus Bond said.
BOND/AXIOM STRATEGIES “People began to realize we had developed a more sophisticated methodology.” Remington developed their system of polling through Axiom’s campaign resources into forgotten activity regarding basic “ID and Turnout.” Bond added that it was his work being in charge of Axiom’s phone contact programs and employed heavy use of IVR calls that efficiently identified campaign supporters, which helped find the info needed to properly poll. “At the end of each campaign we were sitting on heavy amounts
of voter identification data,” Bond said. We began looking at the raw data compared to election results and then began modeling the electorate. We decided to take a shot at executing weighting techniques to the data to ensure that no demographic of the electorate was
either under or over represented. We began to see some incredibly accurate results.” Bond continued, detailing the effort that employees put into their work when polling for the firm. “This is a very detail oriented job. From A to Z every “i” must be dotted and every “t” must be crossed. Any mistake, even very minor mistakes, can taint an entire sample,” Bond explained. “We begin by drafting our instrument, that’s the script we use for our calls. We then pull what we determine to be the proper sample to make calls and then bring in the
raw data. We build a demographic model for every survey we field. Our demographic models are what has caused our success. We spend time looking at historical election results and trends in order to build out what we believe will accurately portray a future electorate.” By collecting large samples to reduce any type of sampling error they can ensure a very small margin of error. While Bond admits that every pollster will be wrong at some point, the goal is to heavily reduce that with large, representative samples. Answering what sets Remington from competitors, Bond noted that the affordable pricing and fast turnaround of the firm were both incredible assets. According to Bond, no polling firm has been able to deliver results to a client as fast as theirs. “This is a 24 hour job and we realize how important this data is to our clients,” Bond said. “Remington clients often receive polling data in the same evening as data collection.” Bond and company remain very proud of the firm, the work it has accomplished and the success it has achieved. And although the firm is confronting the challenges of getting a grasp on the ever-evolving methods of attaining public opinion, Bond feels that Remington’s methodology is best suited to adapt to those changes. “I hope to see Remington grow into one of the most sought after Republican polling firms,” Bond said. “Creating a culture where we expect every survey to be accurate and build a solid team of professionals that are dedicated to the craft. This includes constantly evolving and testing new techniques that will ensure our clients success well into the future.”
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WHAT IS THE STATE OF THE LEGAL INDUSTRY? 7.5 MINUTE READ
BENJAMIN PETERS THE MISSOURI TIMES One of the major focus points for Republicans this past session was tort reform, with dozens upon dozens of bills filed to address a number of topics in Missouri’s legal world in an attempt to end frivolous lawsuits. It wasn’t so long ago - back in December - that St. Louis was named the “Worst Judicial Hellhole” in the country by the American Tort Reform Association. Since then, the legislature worked quickly to address the issues that had led to that ranking, looking into a number of legislative actions to enact meaningful lawsuit reforms and correct what many had started to call a growing epidemic of lawsuit abuse. Lawmakers filed several bills this past session seeking to address tort reform issues, labor and discrimination laws, as well as legislation on expert witness and venue laws. In the end, the legislature signed off on a number of bills looking to modify laws in regard to legal proceedings in the state. The most notable changes passed by the General Assembly would be the bill putting in new expert witness standards in place (HB 153) and another bill seeking to modify Missouri’s workplace discrimination standards (SB 43). But the question now becomes
this: what does this mean for Missouri’s legal landscape? How will the changes passed by the legislature affect the legal industry in the Show-Me State as a whole? Gov. Eric Greitens had encouraged these types of bills, saying it was necessary to restore fairness and balance to Missouri’s courts, as well as protect employers from frivolous lawsuits and produce a more fair legal environment for them to work in, a sentiment that lawyer and lobbyist Rich AuBuchon tends to agree with. “Missouri has a sullied reputation amongst employers throughout the nation that we are trying to improve. Employers looking to make expansions and major investments in hiring and infrastructure see too much risk associated with our Missouri litigation environment,” he said. “Missouri made great strides this year to showcase to our national companies that we are open for business. Having the leaders in the House, Senate and the Governor working together on these issues was outstanding to show our nation we want more businesses to expand and locate in Missouri.” Attorney Chuck Hatfield says that the changes themselves might not be so different than what is currently the norm in the state. Missouri will soon join the federal courts and 39 other states in using the Daubert Standard for the admissibility of expert testimony,
changing from the state’s current statute. Which states that expert witness testimony will be deemed admissible if the expert is duly qualified and the facts or data is “reasonably relied upon by experts in the field.” The passage of HB 153 says that the state’s standard was not appropriately applied in the courtrooms, allowing experts to offer opinions with little bases. While signing the bill, Governor Greitens said the current standards allowed “trial lawyers to bring in shady witnesses who act as experts while peddling junk science.” HB 153, instead, establishes four criteria needed for an expert witness’ testimony: The expert’s specialized knowledge will assist the jury to understand the evidence or determine a fact in issue The testimony is based on sufficient facts or data The testimony is the product of reliable principles and methods The expert has reliably applied the principles and methods to the facts of the case “Not all expert witnesses will be subject to a challenge on admissibility. But in the cases where the expert's offered testimony will be subject to a legitimate challenge the new standard in Missouri will result in an important change that requires the judge to make a decision on admissibility prior to the jury hearing the evidence,”
AuBuchon said. “This is a major change for our system where, at present, the witness is offered on voir dire and only subject to cross examination or rebuttal once the foundation for admissibility is met.” But Hatfield says that in all actuality, this won’t change much. “At the end of the day, I don’t think it’s going to make a significant difference in most cases, it may make a difference ‘around the edges,’ but the ability to allow an expert to testify is really up to the trial judge,” Hatfield said. “It’s going to be worth it in some cases. There are cases out there where the experts are out there in the new areas of law, or out there where they’re not in the mainstream of science. I guess what I’m saying is that in probably 95 percent of the cases that involve expert testimony, the expert would qualify under the old Missouri standard or the Daubert standard. What it does do is give businesses a little more certainty. “It gives lawyers a slightly different argument, and lawyers like a good argument.” HB 153 goes into effect on Aug. 28. But David Zevan, the president of the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys, says that the real issue isn’t how the attorneys and the legal environment are affected, but how it affects the people and their access to the courts.
“The real effect of these attacks on our system is to limit the people’s access to the courts. Anytime the legislature proposes additional hurdles, which is caps or other ‘one-size fits all’ kinds of limits, it directly affects a jury’s ability to decide what is right,” Zevan said. “The right to trial by jury, a jury’s ability to make a decision after hearing all of the facts is critical to holding wrongdoers accountable. You can phrase it however you want, you can say it’s frivolous lawsuits or whatever you want, but at the end of the day, it’s about what can we do to keep ourselves immune from our actions?” He also says that using the “judicial hellhole” ranking as evidence is incorrect. “The hellhole report has been debunked more times than we can count. The garbage supported by corporations that harmed and then misled Missourians in an attempt to not be held accountable for atrocious behavior,” Zevan said. “For example, GM knew that their faulty ignition switches were causing the cars to malfunction, hurt and kills people, but they attempted to cover it up. Without attorneys uncovering the truth, they may have gotten away with it. That became a criminal case after the civil attorneys discovered what happened.” Critics also have often spoken about the weak venue law as one of the contributing factors to Missouri’s emergence as the leader in “litigation tourism” or “venue shopping” in recent times. The knock on Missouri has been that attorneys felt the legal environment was more favorable than other courts, and as such, they would file cases in the Show-Me State in order to increase their chances for a more favorable outcome. And while the state legislature was unable to pass any real measures to address the issues of venue and joinder, it seems that the U.S. Supreme Court may be doing it for them. In mid-June, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that limits where injury lawsuits can be filed. The court held that a state's court has no business presiding over cases involving companies who are not based in that state when a plaintiff 's injuries did not occur in the state, either. In
Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court of California, with an 8-1 vote, the court stated that the state courts lack the necessary jurisdiction to preside over the claims made by nonresidents of the state. That ruling has already led to a mistrial in St. Louis County in a large case involving Johnson & Johnson and allegations that the talcum powder in its products cause ovarian cancer. The New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson has been battling a series of lawsuits brought by around 5,950 women and their families. The company denies any link between talc and cancer. Roughly onefifth of the plaintiffs have cases pending in St. Louis courts, where juries in four trials have delivered more than $300 million in verdicts against the company and talc supplier. Each of those cases involved out-of-state plaintiffs suing an out-of-state company. But the new ruling issued by the federal courts could change that, meaning that it will still have to be seen how the lower courts use the decision. It’s expected that Johnson & Johnson will push to have the other cases thrown out, using the ruling as grounds for a mistrial. In theory, the issue of “venue shopping” could be resolved without the state legislature even lifting a finger. But both Zevan and Hatfield agree that, in the end, it all boils down to how all laws are interpreted, which has always been and always will be up to the courts. And after the passage of the newest rounds of legislation, it’s only a matter of time until Missouri sees the new laws tested in the courts. As for the question of whether more tort reform is coming, AuBuchon’s answer is simple. “Whether the issues included making workers compensation statutes more reliably interpreted, making litigation for employment disputes more balanced or fixing loopholes in evidentiary standards for certain damage claims - all of these issues are part of a greater framework for making Missouri a better place to do business,” AuBuchon said. “Work remains to be done and reviewing the effect and clarity of statutory construction is a continual process.”
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1 ,5 0 0 JOBS IN MISSOURI
$ 1 0 MI LLI O N IN ANNUAL SAVINGS TO MISSOURI MUNICIPAL UTILITY CUSTOMERS
$ 7 MI LLI O N IN TAX PAYMENTS TO SCHOOLS AND OTHER PUBLIC SERVICES IN YE AR ONE
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