Q&A #1: Can Dems Find a Rural Message?
Short answer: They’re trying, but nothing’s catching fire yet.
Dems started their roadshow for a “Farmers’ Bill of Rights.” The agenda includes “stopping foreign ownership of land, improving country-of-origin labeling, increasing transparency for contract growers, protecting local regulations of CAFOs, and ending corporate stacking of the Clean Water Commission.”
These all sound like they poll well, and they’re designed to drive a wedge between reliable Republican voters and reliable Republican donors. But are they "hot-button" enough to make a change in voting behavior?
Another idea kicking around for Dems is the education issue. Over the past decades Missouri Republicans have done an excellent job tagging Missouri Democrats with the positions of their national counterpart. For example, even though many rural Democrats were pro-life, they were burdened with the national Democratic position of being pro-choice.
With Greitens, increasingly enlarging his national profile and apparently going all-chips-in for the school choice movement, the education issue may be ripening in Missouri. Many rural voters are skeptical of the choice-movement and fear it represents an assault on their public schools. Can Dems seize this issue and make it work? They haven't so far.
Rumorville: Dems Look to Meadows in Senate 22
Tipster says that Senate Democrats are trying to get former Rep. Tim Meadows to bite for a campaign to retake Jeff County Senate District 22. Sen. Paul Wieland beat Jeff Roorda four years after Democratic senator Ryan McKenna was termed.
Budget Worries or Budget Prep?
With the federal tax cut looming as a real possibility, one source says that the administration is taking stock of the impact. One sources says, “Administration asked [an agency] what the impact of implementing massive cuts would be…”
It’s unclear if this is in preparation for anticipated cuts, or if it's to build a case for the legislature to decouple the state tax code from the federal code.
Follow-Up on Dems 2020: The Meaning of “Koster for Gov”
In reaction to the idea of Chris Koster running for governor in 2020, a few folks remarked that they don’t see it happening. Here’s one Dem: “I think Koster is out… think he's making too much money and now that he's out, he probably likes it.”
One theory about Koster’s name rising back up is simple: a very shallow Democratic bench. There aren’t many (any?!) proven commodities in the Dem arsenal. For example, Nicole Galloway, Dems’ rising star, hasn’t actually won a statewide election yet.
Rebutting the Rumorville
“Your RGA comment today is absolutely wrong. Greitens didn’t run for RGA Vice-Chair. Greitens supported Pete Ricketts. Greitens was added to the Executive Committee. There was no race/election… so whoever told you that doesn’t know how the Chair/Vice-Chair process at RGA works…”
November Revenues Surge
“State Budget Director Dan Haug announced today that November 2017 net general revenue collections increased 8.2 percent compared to November 2016, from $687.2 million last year to $743.8 million this year...”
But the usual driver of receipts, individual income tax, was only up 3.2%. The month appears to have been helped out by a 70% increase in “other collections.”
Whiting to STL Realtors
Kate Whiting joins St. Louis Realtors as the new Assistant Director of Government Affairs. Whiting “comes from the St. Louis Science Center, where she has served in the Center’s marketing department the last several years. She has an extensive background in marketing, fundraising and political campaigns, including a four-year stint with the Washington (state) Association of REALTORS in the Government Affairs Department….”
Sen. Gary Romine says he’ll filibuster Greitens SBOE appointees. See Will Schmitt’s article here.
Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit reviewing “administration costs, which include the expenses of the principals' and superintendents' offices, administrative support staff and school board.” See it here. The biggest take-away seems to be that folks record the costs differently, or don’t report their costs to DESE so we don’t have a clear picture.
If you’re interested in education and have a few minutes. The New York Times has an interactive piece up today that looks at what they say is a “better way to compare public schools.” In short, instead of the snapshot of comparing scores, you’re looking whether students are falling behind, catching up, or advancing farther over the course of years. You can plug in school districts and see where they fall on the grid. See it here.
Pull Quote: “One question we’ve been asking ourselves is: Do urban public school systems simply reflect the poverty of the kids in the schools, or do they overcome those effects to any degree?” said Michael Casserly, the executive director of the Council of the Great City Schools, which represents large urban districts. This new data shows that many do overcome them. It also suggests that states that rate schools and select which ones to reward or shutter based on average test scores are using the wrong metric, Mr. Reardon argues. And so are parents who rely on publicly available test scores to identify what they believe are the best school districts — and so the best places to live…
Educators have long debated whether it’s better to evaluate students and schools on proficiency levels or growth rates. Mr. Reardon’s data makes possible a national database of both… Districts with high growth are scattered across the country, in contrast with sharp geographic divisions on proficiency that show Northern schools ahead of those in the Deep South…
Daily Olivo – sister to star Brock Olivo – is involved in a huge sexual harassment scandal in Kentucky. See it here. She worked in Missouri where among other things she worked for Blunt as a liaison.
River Valley Leadership PAC was formed. Heather Grote is the treasurer.
Next Gen GOP PAC was formed. Mark Milton is the treasurer.
Steven Tilley and Shawn Rigger added St. Louis County Police Association.
Thomas Robbins added City of Arnold.
Cindy Wrigley added Missouri Association of Nursing Home Administrators; and deleted Missouri League of Nursing Home Administrators.
Claude Brown added Ygrene; and deleted Rockwood Management
Heath Clarkston, Doug Nelson, Kurt Schaefer and Harry Gallagher added Catapult Learning.
Kevin King added King, Krehbiel & Hellmich LLC; and deleted King Krehbiel Hellmich & Borbonus, LLC
Brandon Koch added Missouri Insurance Coalition.
James Gary Sage added Economic Development Corp of Kansas City MO
Loyd Wilson added Missouri Public Service Commission.
Trent Watson added Missouri Association of Counties.
Ginger Steinmetz added University of Missouri Systems
David Shorr added SRG Global Inc; and deleted City of Columbia Missouri.
Sarah Schlemeier added Independent Colleges & Universities of Missouri.
David Hale deleted David Hale & Associates, and Love Inc of Columbia.
Leslie Korte deleted Judicial Conference of Missouri, and Supreme Court of Missouri.
Meredith Kenyon deleted Missouri Hospital Association.
Jon Gubera deleted National Math + Science Initiative.
Don Morrison deleted Airlines for America, and Southwest Airline.
Bruce Hackmann deleted Callaway Chamber of Commerce.
Ferdinand E Niemann deleted White Goss, A Professional Corporation, Blue Springs School District, Independence School District, and Raytown Quality Schools
Peter Levi deleted JE Dunn Construction, Mobilitie LLC and Polsinelli PC.
Chris Molendorp deleted Willis Pendleton LLC.
Committee to Elect Shawn McCarver Associate Circuit Judge - $50,000 from Shawn McCarver.