We have compiled our 2015 list of the 100+ people in the Missouri public policy process you need to know. A few changes have been made this year – media and legislative staff are not included, unless they were engaged as a campaign consultant as well.
By no means is this the complete list, and the names are in no particular order, but it would be a good start for someone beginning their career in Missouri politics of the people to get to know.
Also this year, instead of a website, we included each person’s twitter handle.
Lastly, thanks to our readers who helped us compile this year’s list – enjoy and please don’t hesitate to tell us who we missed at @MissouriTimes.
Part 7 (of 10)
Brandon Alexander | Digital Campaign Manager at Victory Digital
Brandon left the office of Rep. Tony Dugger to join Victory last session and hit the ground running heading up their growing digital campaign business. The growing Victory firm looks to bring an edge to 2016 with their own in-house digital department, and Alexander will be the head of it.
Ed Rhode | Communications Consultant
This one is easy, if you want someone who can help you move the needle on your issues public perception, Ed Rhode is in a class of his own. He is straight forward and candid in a field where that isn’t easy, which has earned the trust and admiration of an entire generation of reporters and editors.
Greg Porter | Partner, Catalyst
Porter is a rising star in Missouri lobbying, as well as a partner in the hottest firm in the state, as well as nationally. Porter brings a passion to his clients that has made him someone who is involved on one side or the other of every issue in the Capitol. He has a background in Republican politics. Catalyst has a large list of clients he works with, including not-for-profits and is also known for an expertise with technology clients.
Jack Spooner | Finance Chairman, Missouri Republican Party
Spooner stepped into one of the most difficult positions in state politics and just at the right time for the MRP. He has helped the Party not only deal with some tumultuous times serving on the party’s executive committee, but is also very active in helping Republican candidates in St. Louis County from the local level to the federal level. He has been particularly helpful to state legislative candidates in one of the only places left for state Republicans to expand the electoral map.
James Harris | Principal, J Harris Company
Harris has served at every rung of Republican politics from the senate to helping with redistricting to the executive branch – Harris has seen in all. Now he runs the J. Harris Company and has racked up an impressive win percentage in recent cycles and is set to be a big player in 2016.
Jane Dueker | Lobbyist, Spencer Fane
Dueker is a veteran of the Holden administration, where she served as chief of staff, and has built a successful career in lobbying and governmental relations. However, what’s new is her latest move to staff at KMOX. Dueker is also one of the most buzzed about personalities on social media, and definitely someone to know in Missouri politics.
Jeff Craver | Partner, Advantage Capital
A veteran of the Capitol, he is one of the savviest lobbyists on anything related to economic development. While his practices have expanded nationwide, Jeff is still very connected to his home and maintains his ties to the Missouri Chamber of Commerce.
John Bardgett | Principal, John Bardgett & Associates
The top rung of Missouri lobbyists is represented by John Bardgett. Known for having more relationships on both sides of the state than anyone, Bardgett is a force, not only the legislative realm, and has a client list that makes him a prolific fundraiser as well. There is only one John Bardgett.
Mark Jones | Political Director, Missouri NEA
Jones is an aggressive firebrand who has a take-no-prisoners approach that has proven to be part of a successful legislative strategy on the part of the education lobby in a very tough environment. He brings some of his passion from the political world, where he was involved at all levels of the state Democratic legislative effort.
Melissa Panettiere | Director of Governmental Affairs, Blue Cross Blue Shield
Melissa came into government after working on the Nixon campaign, and after serving in the executive branch, was sought after to work in a top spot in governmental affairs for Blue Cross Blue Shield. She is someone who will always be fending off offers to return to both government and politics.
Michael Hafner | Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Barklage & Knodell
Hafner is an aggressive up and coming political consultant who had the opportunity to showcase his skills in the very contentious county executive race in St. Louis last fall. Hafner is working at the top of several statewide campaigns in 2016, and is someone likely to be on this list for years to come.
Mike Louis | President, Missouri AFL-CIO
Louis stepped into the leading office of Missouri’s labor movement at the most pivotal time in many legislator’s lifetimes. He has spent the summer traveling the state building relationships that will be key to holding the line on legislation aimed at harming his members. He has taken to the new role and increasing responsibilities well and earning the respect and friendship of people on both sides of the aisle.
Ryan Burke | R.W. Burke Group
Burke is one of the rising stars in the field of Democratic operatives. He is universally liked by those on both sides of the aisle. In 2015, Burke was offered opportunities to utilize his skills on several campaigns but chose instead to expand his professional horizon by consulting on key statewide issues. With the success of his consulting practice, it will take a huge offer to see him back on the campaign trail in 2016 but the offers will definitely come for one of the top operatives in the state.
Tim Jones | Chairman, Missouri Club for Growth
The former Speaker of the House of Representatives serves as the chairman of the Club for Growth and is the director of political communications with Pelopidas putting him squarely at the center of the most powerful organization in Missouri Republican politics. He is also branching out into the media world, regularly hosting radio programs and consistent television appearances.