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Archive for March 2009

Clem says farewell to the Senate

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It's usually at the end of each legislative session that people who have become a part of the everyday goings-on at the State Capitol announce they've had their fill and are moving on. Sometimes, the announcement comes a little earlier than the end of the session in May. Such is the case with Clem Kreig, one of the Senate doormen, who has decided there are better things to do than sit in on filibusters until all hours of the night or the early morning.

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Clem, who is 77 and has been married for 55 years, has worked on and off in the Senate for the last 13 years. He worked his last shift on Wednesday … getting out for health reasons.

"My lungs are giving me problems so I thought it was time to quit. And these long hours, they're just too much for me."

Clem started out life as a farmer, joined the Army, returned to farming until 1963, and then mixed fertilizer for 27 years.

As for special memories Clem might have from his time in the Senate:

"I can remember (Danny) Staples. He left me one side of his desk, in the drawers. I could keep anything in there for myself and I thought that was great. Who would have thought of having drawers in a Senator's desk?"

I asked Clem if it was candy or perhaps something a little stronger that was left in the desk.

"Well," said Clem. "It was anything." We'll leave it at that.

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 31, 2009 at 11:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

In all Kander … can we keep our coffee?

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It's great to get e-mails from State Senators and Representatives who offer perspectives we might not see elsewhere. Over the weekend, freshman Democrat State Rep. Jason Kander of Kansas City offered his March Top Ten List including … You have to be crafty with the budget … Ideology is a nearly immovable force in Jefferson City … and … Beware of misleading titles.

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Kander tells of how he suggested ways of saving money in an effort to fund a program that would benefit children with autism … and got a bit of a surprise from his colleagues in the Missouri House:

I funded it by eliminating several perks provided to legislators (free coffee, special member lapel pins, and cuts to our personal expense accounts).

The next morning my desk was covered in half empty coffee cups under a "Save Us" sign. A pretty decent little prank from my colleagues.

This prompted Missourinet colleague Brent Martin to exclaim … only half jokingly … "I don't get involved in political debates … but do NOT take our coffee!"

And some of you thought everyone at the Capitol was serious all the time. Perish the thought.

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 30, 2009 at 4:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Sam Page running for State Senate

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The Democrat who ran unsuccessfully against incumbent Peter Kinder in last fall's race for the Lieutenant Governor's office is getting back into politics.

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Former State Representative Sam Page has issued a press release saying he has spent the last four months building a tree house with his boys, returning to full-time status in his medical practice, and enjoying unhurried dinner dates with his wife and friends.

But he is now getting back into the ring … running for the 24th District Senate seat – in the St. Louis area – currently occupied by Senator Joan Bray who will be term limited next year. Page says he plans to focus on, among other things, healthcare, housing, and jobs.

Yes … he is looking for donations.

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 28, 2009 at 3:10 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Jay and Jodi wager on the big game

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There's a lot riding on Saturday's NCAA Basketball match-up between Mizzou and the Connecticut Huskies … everything from Budweiser beer to Gates barbecue.

Our Gov – Jay Nixon – has entered into a friendly wager with Nutmeg State Governor Jodi Rell. His Jayness is putting up a package of Anheuser-Busch beers from St. Louis … Gates barbecue from Kansas City … and some "throwed rolls" from Lambert's Cafe in Sikeston.

Jodi from Connecticut is putting up what is described as "agricultural products of the Nutmeg State."

Let's see … If UConn wins Jodi gets to enjoy Bud, ribs, and throwed rolls … while a Missouri win means His Jayness will have to settle for those unspecified "agricultural products." On the surface it appears as though Jodi gets the best of this deal. Let's hope the Tigers make it a moot point with a win.

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 27, 2009 at 10:55 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The “personal message” that turned out to be not so personal

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While sitting at my desk Friday afternoon an e-mail came my way … with the tease … "A personal message from Rep. Ron Paul."

Having done several stories on the profiling report put out by the Missouri Information Analysis Center … I thought, maybe … just maybe … the 2008 presidential candidate wanted to get in touch with me. Such was not the case.

It was less than a second after opening the e-mail that I realized it was an ad from Regnery Publishing … with the letter addressed to "Dear Reader."

Imagine my disappointment.  There is little that can bring more sorrow on a Friday afternoon than thinking you're special … and then realizing you're just a "reader" like everyone else.

Try to have a good weekend … and one more thing …

GO TIGERS!!!

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 27, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Fallout from the profiling report … It ain’t over yet!

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A Thursday morning Q & A with Governor Jay Nixon and Capitol reporters on that controversial Missouri Information Analyses Center profiling report is apparently not the last we're going to hear about the matter.

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Representative Jim Guest of King City, who chairs the House Committee on Real ID and Personal Privacy (Yes … there IS such a committee!) plans to file legislation early next week to create a special oversight committee to examine the activities and procedures of MIAC as well as to review the agency's role in profiling certain racial, religious, political and social advocacy groups.

At the Q & A, the Gov was asked about MIAC and who brought this beast into being. He made it clear he had nothing to do with its creation.

"I have no idea," said Nixon. "I was not Governor when MIAC was formed. I was not Governor. I did not hire any of the people who are there and nobody in my administration – the Director of Public Safety or the Colonel (Keathley) – saw this stuff before it went out."

Back to Guest … On Wednesday, the House supported his amendment to prevent state dollars from being used in political profiling by MIAC.

One more thing …a letter signed by scores of State Reps has been sent to Public Safety Director John Britt … expressing concern over the MIAC report.

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 26, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tax credits make for strange Senate bedfellows

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You're probably familiar with the old saying about politics making strange bedfellows … and politics did, indeed, make for interesting debate in the State Senate Wednesday afternoon as the chamber discussed the huge economic development bill that includes everything from expansion of the Quality Jobs program to tax credits.

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It is not uncommon for like-minded Senators to form coalitions to work on behalf of … or against … pieces of legislation. Usually … these Senators see eye to eye on quite a few things. But the economic development bill saw the lamb lie down with the lion … with the promise of the chance the lamb might actually get a good night's sleep.

For example … Democratic Senator Tim Green was on the same side as Republican Senators Brad Lager, Matt Bartle, and Jason Crowell. All want to see some kind of government oversight and accountability with tax credits.

And Democratic Senator Jeff Smith joined Republican Senator Jane Cunningham in embracing the Historic Preservation Tax Credit. These two don't agree on much … but in this case there is unity.

One of the reporters sitting at the press table approached me and asked if I had been outside lately … I asked why he wanted to know … and he told me Hell might have frozen over and the cool air might have crept into Jefferson City.

– Steve Walsh

Written by learfield

March 25, 2009 at 11:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized