Friday, December 13, 2013

Ameren Snubbed

One of the big potential economic development projects in the pipeline for Missouri was going to be Ameren and Westinghouse’s partnership to build small modular (nuclear) reactors, known as SMRs.

For months and months and month, we have been waiting for the big grant from the Department of Energy which was to act as a catalyst for the partnership to begin designing and producing commercialized versions of SMRs.  The military has been using them for decades in their submarines.

Then bummer of all bummers, the grant went to NuScale Power LLC instead.  Ugha.  Pain.  Anger. 

Memo to Sen. Claire McCaskill: enough with the iPads on airplanes, let’s get bring home the bacon!

See the news here.

Axiom Hires

Axiom Strategies announced some personnel moves.  Most interesting is Kristen Blanchard who used to work with Ron Richard.  She will be based in Jefferson City and “work in existing partnerships with other lobbying firms.”

Here’s the press release:

“In preparation for the 2014 election cycle, Axiom Strategies Founder Jeff Roe announced personnel additions and moves for the company today.


Beau Rothschild comes to Axiom from Washington D.C. where he brings eleven years of experience of federal and state politics to the firm.


Rothschild began his career in the state of Texas and has served in several key roles on campaigns, as well as advocacy and policy initiatives.  He most recently served as Chief of Staff to Texas Congressman Blake Farenthold and previously as a senior aide for Congressman Bill Flores and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.  Beau will be focusing his efforts at Axiom on campaigns and business development.


Kristen Blanchard is a Joplin, Missouri native and worked as an Associate at the law firm of Blanchard, Robertson, Mitchell & Carter, P.C.  Her focus will be on Axiom's corporate clients and legislative affairs. She will be based in Jefferson City to open a new division of the firm, established to service our current client base and work in existing partnerships with other lobbying firms.


Blanchard is a recent graduate of the University of Missouri School of Law, and formerly worked in the Missouri House of Representatives as Director of Caucus Communications under now-Senator, then-Speaker Ron Richard.  Prior to her time in the Missouri House, Blanchard worked in Governor Blunt's campaign and administration and also as a business developer for a

corporation in Dallas, Texas.


Jason Klindt will return to Axiom's Direct Mail/Digital company, COMMAND, as its Managing Director in January. Klindt is a veteran Missouri hand in politics, serving as Sam Graves' 2008 campaign manager and longtime Communications Director. He was also a general consultant for Congressmen Billy Long and Jason Smith.


Donnelly Move Impact Dem AG Race?

Some folks think that yesterday’s bit about Margaret Donnelly landing at the Family Court in St. Louis County clears the way for progressive women to coalesce and unite behind Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters-Baker for attorney general.

Some women have been miffed that so far no women have been mentioned for the 2016 statewide slate.  Peters-Baker for AG would change that.  However Mike Sanders has been mentioned for that slot as well.  Democrats have been good about avoiding divisive primaries in their statewide races, so we’ll see…

Ethics Reform Alive?

Governor Jay Nixon offered support for a bipartisan effort at ethics reform.  Sen. Will Kraus has a bill in the Senate (so do others like Sens. Scott Rupp, and Jamilah Nasheed).

Secretary of State Jason Kander who fought (and build some bipartisan support) for ethics reform during his legislative tenure, dumped some cold water on Kraus’ proposal…

"I am pleased to see Governor Nixon bringing together legislators of both parties today to work on the important issue of campaign finance and ethics reform. However, as those conversations move forward, I believe it's important to recognize that legislation like Senate Bill 576 does not come close to what Missouri needs.  Campaign finance limits are ineffective without a limit on political money laundering. This bill does nothing to discourage the targets of Missouri Ethics Commission investigations from lying to get out of trouble - something that is, amazingly, currently legal in our state. Placing $50 per item limits on lobbyist gifts is a loophole through which legislators could still have lobbyists take them to a $50 breakfast, $50 lunch and $50 dinner every day. And preventing teachers from being involved in the political process is both wrong and unconstitutional."


House Floor Leader John Diehl unveiled a new website.  See it here.

The deal gets done over food, folks… Read it here.

St. Louis County trash dispute continues years later.  Stinson’s Jane Dueker’s clients win millions in damages; challenger Steve Stenger jabs incumbent Charlie DooleyRead it here.

St. Louis Business Journal editorial this morning: “This [legislative session] the business community should follow (Missouri Chamber’s) Mr. Mehan’s lead and step up on this issue. The official voices of the St. Louis business community, including the Regional Chamber, were muted at best.  If St. Louis goes to the Legislature looking for support for Boeing, we ought to be consistent and support an even bigger economic opportunity: Medicaid expansion.”

New Committee Formed

Citizens For A Stronger Missouri was formed with the Missouri Ethics Commission as a new political action committee.

There’s no indication yet what the purpose of the committee is, but its treasurer, James Thomas III has been treasurer for committee with tied to Axiom previously.

Other committees he’s treasurer for: Sen. Brad Lager, the Jackson County translational sales tax, changes to the Missouri Court plan, Pay Day loan committees.

Help Wanted

Department of Conservation seeks communications manager.  “Lead a diverse communications team to proactively develop and implement effective communication strategies that address Agency priorities.”  See the ad here.  

Capitol media which has grumbled that Nixon’s departments are normally stonewall-happy will be chagrined to see “return reporters’ phone calls” is not in the job description…

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Michael Racy added University of Missouri.

Marlene Nagel deleted Mid-America Regional.


MO Drive Fund - $25,000 from Drive Committee.

Citizens for Responsible Research - $15,000 from Bradley Bradshaw.

MO Democratic State Committee - $10,000 from American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

Schmitt for Missouri - $10,000 from Lewis & Clark Leadership Forum.


Happy birthdays to former Reps. Gary Fuhr (66), and Curt Dougherty (57)

Saturday: Cheryl Dillard.

Sunday: Ric Telhorst.