Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Skelton Passes

Ike Skelton died yesterday.  The former congressman who served 17 terms was 81 years old.   See the AP obituary here.  See the New York Times obituary here.  

From the AP: An astute military historian, Skelton helped build up Missouri's two military installations. As Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster was losing its cache of long-range nuclear missiles, Skelton secured its future in the late 1980s by getting the Defense Department to place the new B-2 bomber there.


After redistricting made Skelton the representative for Missouri's Fort Leonard Wood in 1983, the number of troops undergoing training there more than quadrupled and the post's mission expanded from the Army to all branches of military service.

From the Times: Mr. Skelton was a social conservative who supported gun rights, opposed abortion rights and voted against President Obama’s health care law. Before his defeat, he had not received less than 60 percent of the vote since 1982.


But that record was not enough to overcome the national tide of Republicans elected to the House in 2010. Representative Vicky Hartzler, the Republican who beat Mr. Skelton and still holds the seat, received support from many Tea Party members and tied him to Representative Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, then the House speaker.


Mr. Skelton was born in Lexington, Mo., and won his first election in 1956 to become the prosecuting attorney in Lafayette County. He served in the Missouri State Senate before entering Congress.

Updates House 2014 Special Report

In the Special Reports section this morning is an updated version of the House 2014 Preview.  Districts are being added as candidates create campaign committees.  Though we’re a year away, the report is already up to 75 pages.  Over the next year, it will probably double in size as more people jump into races. 

See the report here.

The quick big picture for those uninterested in the details:  We are in the ebb of the term limit tide.  There are lots of incumbents and very few non-incumbents going into this cycle. I estimate that over 85% of the House districts will be defended by incumbents.  And because incumbents do not often lose, those districts are less likely to switch parties. Therefore it’s unlikely to see a substantial pick-up by either party, regardless of the electoral environment.

However, imagining the next three Nixon veto session, every vote counts.  Every district counts.  An extra Dem in their caucus could make override a veto much more difficult.  A couple extra could make it impossible.

Backer Sues Rebman

Gracia Backer, who clashed with her boss at the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Larry Rebman, and was ultimately fired, filed a discrimination suit yesterday.  Rebman was also reassigned from the department, though the Nixon administration at the time did their “everything’s happy here” dance.  AP has the story, read it here.  (Thanks to the peerless John Combest to the AP link).

Pull Quote:  Backer’s complaint seeks to have her job restored with back wages and benefits and asks for unspecified damages for the “public humiliation and embarrassment” of being fired.


Backer, 63, of New Bloomfield, is a former Democratic state lawmaker who in 1996 became the first woman to serve as Missouri House majority leader. She lost a primary for lieutenant governor in 2000 and served as the Employment Security director from 2001 to 2005 and again from 2009 until her firing earlier this year.


The complaint alleges that Rebman discriminated against Backer and other older employees, particularly older female administrators. It says Rebman directed Backer to give undeserved, poor evaluations to three female section chiefs in Backer’s division in an effort to force them to retire or justify their potential firing.


Post-Dispatch editorial chief Tony Messenger tweets… “High-ranking women in 2 different departments, Labor and Agriculture, have now accused @govjaynixon admin of sexism. This is a big deal.”

No Leach in House 132

Former state representative Melissa Leach terminated her campaign committee and won’t be trying to make a comeback next year.  After beating Rep. Charlie Norr in 2010, she lost to him in 2012.  Word is that she’s decided to attend law school instead.

MASW Against Transportation Tax

”The Missouri Association for Social Welfare (MASW), founded in 1901, has announced opposition to a one-percent sales and use tax that has been filed as a petition initiative with the office of the Secretary of State… MASW maintains that the seven billion dollar tax increase created by the ballot measure if passed, the largest in Missouri history, would fall disproportionately on Missourians least able to pay for it. Oxford said, ‘Two out of five Missouri households have less than $31,000 in annual income. These families often have to choose between paying rent or paying utilities, purchasing food or medicine. Increased sales tax would add a new challenge to daily stability.’ MASW suggests that refundable earned income tax credits could reduce the regressive impact of a fuel tax adjusted for inflation.”


Last week Governor Jay Nixon appointed Marilynn J. Bradford to the Missouri Conservation Commission. Bradford is an Independent.  She “is retired from more than 20 years in state government, where she worked for the departments of Social Services and Agriculture. She is a co-owner of Pyramid Home Health Services, which serves more than 3,000 elderly and disabled Missourians. Bradford also co-owns a 1,000-acre hunting preserve in Wayne and Madison counties, as well as a rice farm in Pemiscot County.  Bradford is a life member of the Conservation Federation of Missouri and an avid fly-fisher. She obtained her bachelor's degree from Columbia College and also has received leadership training from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.”

The newspaper in Maryville Missouri “is looking for a motivated, community-minded and skilled managing editor to turn our newspaper into the information hub of our community.”  Salary range is $30-35K.  See ad here.

Virginia Young reports that Missouri will get more federal money for Medicaid next year… “Instead of 62.03 percent, the federal government is expected to pay 63.45 percent of the cost of Missouri’s health care program for the poor. The new rate, which is not yet final, could translate into an extra $100 million for state coffers.”  Read it here.

Mark Your Calendar

Engineers’ Club of St. Louis’ Vision 2015 embarked on a $3 million capital campaign to renovate their building on Lindell so they can become the central hub for engineering, expand their STEM outreach from high school to middle and K-12 and fight the epidemic of a lack of engineers graduating in the US.  Tomorrow night’s the First Annual  Engineering Foundation Oktoberfest and Fall Networking Event  at The Cheshire Inn.  RSVP here.

Lobbyist Registrations

From the Pelopidas website:

Katie Bray Barnett added Kansas City Pet Project, Wayside Waifs, Great Plains SPCA, and Spray and Neuter Kansas City.

Larry Rohrbach deleted Coventry Health Care of Missouri, and Coventry Health Care of Kansas Inc.


Lewis & Clark Ozarks Mountain Forum - $15,000 from Penn Enterprises Inc.

Committee for Research Treatments and Cures - $96,000 from UMKC Foundation.


Happy birthdays to Rep. Gail McCain Beatty, KCPL’s Cara Hoover, and St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Chip Casteel.