There are some bills, articles, or campaigns that you just know who is behind them. Their work is distinct, yet its their professionalism and effectivenss that keeps them at the top of the game, whether its passing bills, whipping votes, electing members, re-electing other members, pulling strings on leadership races, drastically altering a bill on behalf of a client, influencing a caucus, or researching, these people know their work like the back of their hands.
by CHRIS LIEVSAY
It is no secret that some lobbyists do little more than just cash your check and list your name as a client on their website. What you get instead with Armstrong Teasdale and their government affairs arm of AT Government Strategies is a tireless advocate for the issues important to who they work with. Their team provides an exponential increase in the impact their clients have in the halls of the General Assembly and help deal with any government or regulatory agencies that may affect their objectives.
For the Missouri Municipal League, working with Shanon Hawk, their Director of Legislative Affairs, has provided a strong voice to help protect and advance the issues important to our members, and provides confidence that we are fulfilling our responsibility to be the best stewards of our resources. Shannon provides regular contact throughout the session on anything that might be related to our priorities, she is fully and quickly responsive to any requests, and is intentional about physically being at board meetings and events where legislative updates are given. Along with Jon Dalton as the CEO of ATGS, their extensive network of contacts and relationships built over decades of experience in this industry are a benefit to any organization.
CLOUT PUBLIC AFFAIRS
by Becky Willard
There are 962 individuals registered to lobby in the state of Missouri – no shortage of options if you’re looking for help with your issue. There is one team, however, that stands out from the pack in terms of tenacity, responsibility, dedication, and institutional knowledge: Clout Public Affairs.
Represented inside the Capitol by Aaron Baker and Hannah Beers, Clout doesn’t shy away from tough issues. Clout has been involved in the some of the most contentious legislative battles our state has seen and is sought out because this firm get results. They understand that there is more to a winning strategy than just shepherding legislation through the committee process, and they will bring every weapon in their arsenal to your fight. And as part of the Axiom Strategies network of companies, the weapons at their fingertips are formidable – each priority is treated like a campaign, using data to drive decisions at every level.
The big (not so) secret to their success? They understand people. They understand what motivates people to stand up and take action, to make their voices heard, to become part of the legislative process. Both Aaron and Hannah come from small towns in Missouri, and they stay connected and grounded through their communities still today. (Seriously, check out Aaron Baker’s Facebook page – I think he might be the Godfather of Northeast Missouri.) And when you couple that with their savvy inside-the-building operations? Priceless.
More than any of this, though, Aaron and Hannah are good people who know there is more to life than what happens in Jefferson City. It’s clear talking to either of them that it’s their personal values that drive their dedication to their work. Their friends, their families, their faith – these are the things that matter. Sometimes we all need a reminder to step back and remember why we do what we do; Aaron and Hannah keep this front-of-mind every day.
by JOE LAKIN
Politics today are big. Big budgets, big companies, big personalities and a focus, primarily, on the big elements of a campaign. But David Barklage is a guy that knows better than anyone the importance of the fundamentals – the small things – of politics. How words make a difference. How individual people react to events, ideas and messages. And how politics, ultimately, is all about people.
Few have had a greater impact on the landscape of Missouri politics than David Barklage. Even after years of winning some of Missouri’s toughest campaigns, David’s hometown of Cape Girardeau is never far from view in his work. David has made it big without forgetting where he came from. He never fails to check on friends and provide a wise word of counsel when needed.
Every Missouri Republican in the business today stands on his shoulders and owes him a debt of gratitude for his work. After devoting decades of his life building the engines that power Republican majorities in the legislature and in statewide offices, the impact of his work is seen each and every day in the work of our elected leaders.
by Gregg Keller
If Missouri politics were the film industry, Rich Chrismer might hold a record for the most un-credited roles. Present at most political occurrences of import in the state over the last twenty years, he prefers to shine the spotlight on his clients. This old-school professionalism has earned him the trust of the many who seek his communications counsel and mastery of message development.
A twenty-year communications veteran, Chrismer has built a wildly successful public relations consultancy. His firm, Seen Read Heard, a name that stems from the polling question, represents Fortune 500s, CEOs, start-ups, issue campaigns, candidates and more. Seen Read Heard reached the ten-year milestone in March.
Chrismer’s mentor Senator Jim Talent said he is “one of a short list of PR professionals whose advice and counsel is in constant demand from business and political leaders who need strong relationships with the media, outstanding social media platforms, cool and effective advice in a crisis, and purposeful, powerful communications programs.”
Jeff Roe, my generation’s Karl Rove, has called him “the best communicator in the country west of the Mississippi.”
On a personal level, Chrismer is intellectually curious and creative with a wide range of interests outside of politics that make him better at his job. He will continue to be an influential communications force in Missouri and beyond for years to come.
by Kate Casas
I first met Shawn Furey when he was chief of staff to then Senator Eric Schmitt and I was a new lobbyist. As a new lobbyist, Shawn was always open to giving me advice when I asked, gently telling me when I was about to make a mistake and encouraging me when something went right. It was soon after he left Schmitt’s office to join the Axiom Strategies team that I learned he had not just been doing those things for me but that he was one of the most trusted advisors among many of Missouri’s politicos and a truly talented strategist.
To this day, if there is something big happening in Missouri politics or policy, you can be confident that he is involved. I now have the privilege to work with Shawn daily in his role as a Senior Vice President at Home State Health. Shawn not only knows everything there is to know about delivering high quality health care in the most efficient way to Missouri’s citizens, he has a breadth of experience and a track record of success that is unparalleled.
by Mike Deering
The dynamic duo that is “The Giddens Group” is undoubtedly a force in Missouri politics. Nancy and Shannon have formed strong relationships with legislators on both sides of the aisle. They care about people and don’t give a damn about the letter behind their name. They shoot from the hip and they shoot straight. It’s that straightforward honesty and integrity that has made this group successful over the last 13 years.
They fight like they don’t know how to lose. They do not quit. If a committee hearing runs long or if either chamber stays in session all night, they do not leave. They have danced the dance of Missouri politics long enough to know bad things happen when you look away. You must be present. They love what they do, and their passion is unwavering. They have a lot of fun doing what they love. You have to admire that.
The other thing worth noting is they believe in their clients and won’t take on just anyone with a checkbook. They truly put themselves into their work and believe in the issues they are fighting for and the people impacted by those issues. Every client is their only client, if that makes sense. This association wouldn’t have been able to lead four veto overrides in one session without the unwavering dedication and relentless efforts of Nancy and Shannon. Their work ethic is unparalleled; perhaps that’s because they both grew up on cattle farms.
Gateway Government Relations
by Kevin Gunn
When looking for lobbying firms, there are always the basics that you look for. Is the firm strategic? Are they effective? Do they have the requisite relationships to shepherd complex (and sometimes not so complex) legislation to enactment? Gateway Government relations checks all those boxes easily.
But what sets them apart and why should they be on this list? The answer in my mind is simple: Irl Scissors and Sarah Wood Martin. I’ve known them both for years and consider them to be great friends and experts in their field.
In many ways, the only real thing that a lobbyist brings to the table is their reputation. With 30 years of combined experience, Irl and Sarah bring exactly the kind of reputation that you want to be affiliated with in Jefferson City. They are relentless in their advocacy for their clients, yet they understand when to raise the profile of an issue and when to work behind the scenes. They are recognized by their peers as well as legislators that they can both provide trusted information as well as be trusted with information.
They have been involved in some of the highest profile legislative battles in the Capitol, but also know how to handle the everyday tasks that clients require. Their diverse client list also demonstrates that they can manage any issue at any level of government no matter the complexity.
And, if those reasons aren’t enough, they know where to get the best Mexican food in Jefferson City
by Brian Grace
Mike Hafner began his political career by working on the campaigns of many of this century’s most stalwart Missouri Republicans: former Sen. Jim Talent, former Gov. Matt Blunt, and former Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. In 2014 he began working for Eric Greitens who was exploring a yet-to-be-determined campaign for statewide office. In 2015, as Greitens’ campaign for Governor evolved, Hafner began raising questions about the use of a 501(c)(4) to raise funds outside of campaign contribution limits. Shortly thereafter, he was asked by Greitens to leave the campaign. Last year Hafner became a central witness in five separate investigations into the actions of the Greitens campaign – putting him at odds with Greitens’ inner circle. A Greitens campaign advisor proclaimed that Hafner would never work in Missouri Republican politics again. Now, nine months after Greitens’ resignation, Hafner is thriving. He is engaged as a campaign consultant, media relations consultant, and fundraiser for several Republican elected officials. He is also doing PAC advising and lobbying for conservative coalitions.
BY TIM JONES
Perseverance, Patience, Purpose
From his early days of cutting his political teeth during the euphoric days of Governor Matt Blunt, when Missouri Republicans gained control of the House, the Senate and the Governor’s office for the first time in decades, to the present day of Governor Mike Parson’s calming, steady hand after several years of conflict and turmoil, James Harris has been a consummate presence, counselor and advisor to these leaders and to many others at all levels of Missouri State Government…and beyond.
The Game of Thrones of politics, political gamesmanship and the complicated labyrinth of the legislative and executive branches is often a high octane and cutthroat business; yet it is one that James constantly navigates with unflinching patience and constant perseverance. And you never see him sweat.
James’s connections are prolific and extend across the State of Missouri. He has the keys to unlock doors for hard-working and willing candidates to some of the most powerful decision-makers and political donors in the Show-Me State. But the most valuable lesson I learned from James, and one that he impressed upon me often during my legislative years as he escorted me to a humble office cubicle to make my weekly maintenance calls to supporters across the state, was that although he could provide me the road map and the tools, he could not do the work for me. A consultant can open doors, but it is the candidate who must walk through them and prove his or her own mettle to the people within.
James has that rare combination of perseverance and patience that has honed his political intuition to a keen edge, providing him the ability to identify those aspiring politicians and public servants who have that intangible quality of capable leadership at the highest and most demanding levels. And if you’re willing to bear down, listen to his advice and do the hard work he demands, James Harris can open the doors to public service at the highest levels, if you’re willing to walk through them.
BY DAVID WILLIS
Josh Haynes has left his permanent trademark on the southeast Missouri political landscape. Though originally from the Kansas City area, Josh spent more than a decade working in the 8th congressional district for Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson and later for Congressman Jason Smith. Despite a number of the biggest names in Missouri politics being from southeast Missouri, Josh’s impact cannot be understated, he helped Jo Ann navigate through tough primaries and well-funded opposition in some very difficult political climates.
When Jo Ann announced her retirement after the 2012 election, every Republican heavyweight from the 8th congressional announced they were running to replace her. Josh was one of the first people that candidates turned to for information and advice because of his deep knowledge of the district and the region. Despite having many of his friends enter the field, Josh was able to maintain his relationships and navigate a difficult special election with finesse.
Today, Josh has taken his skills to the private sector and has become one of the more influential people in Jefferson City. As the Senior Director for Government Affairs for MissouriCare Health Plan Josh has proven he is capable of tackling complicated public policy problems. Josh has developed a reputation of being a capable strategist, an honest broker and fiercely loyal to his friends.
Josh and his wife Heather and their two children Molly and Henry now live near Springfield. While no longer directly involved in the political side Josh remains helpful to his friends, providing advice and help where appropriate.
HRCC & CASEY WHEAT
BY SCOTT DIECKHAUS
To understand how Republicans transformed a purple state with a slight blue lean into a dark red state in just a few short decades, you really only need to look to one organization – the Missouri House Republican Campaign Committee (HRCC). Modern political history in Missouri is more than dotted with the names of the tremendous leadership that has often originated from the political arm of the House Republicans; names like Jim Talent, David Barklage, Mark and Todd Richardson, Catherine Hanaway, Steve Tilley, Dave Hageman, Robert Knodell have led the charge to a general decimation of once prominent rural Democrat leaders.
The basic formula established early on by HRCC is still intact today – recruit quality candidates who fit district ideals, work tirelessly to raise money to support the candidates via independent expenditures, train both candidates and staff on the basics of campaigning, and base messaging and targeting decisions on solid polling. While nothing here is necessarily revolutionary in modern campaigning, the precision and consistency of HRCC is nearly mythic.
The history and success of HRCC continues today with Executive Director Casey Wheat. In addition to being the first woman to lead the organization, Casey grabbed the reins of HRCC relatively late in the 2018 cycle and was still able to navigate the House Republicans to an impressive election feat – stopping the national blue wave at the Show-Me State’s borders; the House Republicans had as many members at the swearing-in ceremony this past January as they had going into election night last year – 116.
As the chain of success goes at HRCC, Casey was added to the HRCC family in 2012 by then Political Director Jonathan Ratliff and myself. Over the years, she ascended the ranks as a Regional Staffer, Political Director, and ultimately her current role as Executive Director. In her current role, I am certain that Casey has continued the legacy of the HRCC family tree and that many of the fine young staffers of the organization from the 2018 and 2020 cycles will eventually be main characters in its future successes.
IAFF AND MARK HABBAS
BY SAM WILES
The speciality that Mark Habbas has brought to the table on behalf of the state’s firefighters, is being effective in his position while being one of the nicest people in the building.
But what is truly unique is the passion he brings to the table, particularly on behalf of firefighters. He is just advocating for a client, but rather for a cause he truly believes in. He brings an openness and honesty to conversations that is truly refreshing. You always know where Mark stands and where you stand with him.
Because of the work done by the two Marks — Woolbright and Habbas, the firefighters have maintained a solid reputation with both political parties. They aren’t looking at the R or D following a legislators name, they work with everyone and just want what is best for the group they passionately represent.
Mark, Habbas that is, always says that “your reputation is all you have” and, I think I can speak for those that know him, his reputation is certainly one to stand the test of time.
WILLIS JONES AND CAPITAL CITY RESEARCH
BY PETER KINDER
Willis Jones has established himself as Missouri’s ace opposition researcher. Willis is diligent, thorough, efficient and has assembled a great team to handle his growing portfolio. He’s the best.
THE KELLY GROUP
BY MIKE LOUIS
The most important thing that Labor can do is to keep our members up to date on everything we are doing to fight for working families. Times have change as to how we best do that. It has become paramount to keep Union members and their families updated in real time. That is where the Kelly Group comes in for the Missouri AFL-CIO. Doing a great job in both consulting and managing our social media outlets.
The hard work and the 24-7 availability for consulting and advice of the Kelly Group is invaluable. Their dedication to the Missouri AFL-CIO in our efforts to represent the best interest of Missouri’s Working Families is what makes the Kelly Group so deserving of this award.
JOE LAKIN & VICTORY ENTERPRISES
BY DAN KLEINSORGE
If you call Joe Lakin today, you’ll often catch him at an airport between flights but Joe earned his stripes running campaigns for HRCC when the House Republicans were first breaking records for the size of their majority. Now Joe is involved in campaigns across the country while still maintaining clients across Missouri.
Joe is the first person to call if you are thinking about running for office because he knows as much about local politics in Greene County as he does about digital ad buys. A proven winner, Joe is worth knowing if you care about politics in Missouri.
BY TRICIA WORKMAN
Smart, direct, prepared, a contrarian at times, and someone certainly not afraid to voice an unpopular but accurate point of view.
Ronald J. Leone has been a fixture in the Missouri Capitol for decades with his start as a Senate research staff member and later serving as Chief of Staff to two Senate President Pro Tems.
Ron is a fierce ally and a worthy opponent. Due to his work on behalf of the Missouri Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, most everyone in the building has had the opportunity to experience both. He is a tough negotiator who has a strong pride of ownership and keen attention to detail.
He represents his association and its members well. He is not afraid to go to battle for his clients whether in the Capitol or in the field of public opinion. He enjoys the art of debate, oral or written, and is a gifted spokesperson known for his willingness to tell it like it is.
Behind that tough New Yorker exterior, Ron is also a loyal friend who often has a kind word to say when you need it the most.
BY KEVIN ENGLER
Over the years as I served in the state House and Senate, we saw all kinds of battles with telecommunications companies. To make a decision, you need to have accurate information — especially as each side can skew facts to make their case — to find out what the net effect of legislation will be. And that’s where the MCTA comes in.
Nowadays, the MCTA has quite a few people working for them who I respect and have put my faith in — including some of my former staffers.
The average person who gets cable might not understand how vulnerable they can be, and they need someone who will stick up for them in Jefferson City. That’s what MCTA’s role is: to defend Missourians who have cable.
ROB MONSEES & THE MISSOURI HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION
BY CHUCK PRYOR
I first became acquainted with Rob while serving as Secretary of State Matt Blunt’s legislative liaison.
I quickly learned that Rob was the go to guy in the Missouri Senate.
Rob was a key player in Secretary Blunt’s successful efforts to update election laws in Missouri.
His political experience proved invaluable during Governor Blunt’s election and was again at the heart of the transition into the Governor’s office.
Rob was deputy chief of staff over policy while I served as director of legislation, his experience at the federal and state level combined with his vision made my job much easier and our time on the second floor very successful with a long list of legislative wins.
In his current role at the Missouri Hospital Association, Rob works on the front lines of health care policy in Missouri and Washington DC on behalf of hospitals across Missouri. From access to health care issues to tort reform and regulatory relief, Rob can be found tirelessly advocating to create an environment where hospitals can provide high quality health care to patients and serve as a foundational member of their communities.
So if you need to know about a policy issue from agriculture to health care to education to transportation or you want to talk strategy about an upcoming election campaign, Rob Monsees is definitely a great person to know.
THE MISSOURI BUDGET PROJECT
BY JEREMY LAFAVER
Both famed, and feared, for their fierce advocacy on behalf of progressive tax policy, The Missouri Budget Project is consistently among the top advocacy and non-profit lobby organizations in Missouri. MBP, as they’re often referred to in the hallways of the state capitol, has built a reputation for fair and accurate budget analysis and economic forecasting that makes them a go-to organization for lawmakers, media outlets and partner organizations across the state. A prominent political blog once quipped of the Missouri Budget Project, “you can disagree with the messenger, but you can’t disagree with their math.”
Founded in 2003 by Amy Blouin, who still leads the organization, MBP’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all Missourians by informing public policy decisions through objective research and analysis of state budget, tax and economic issues. Over the past 15 years, Amy and her team have worked tirelessly at the forefront of some of the biggest public policy discussions in Missouri using their objective research and analysis to build a rock solid reputation.
I’ve had the pleasure to work alongside Amy and her team in a couple of different capacities, and there are few, if any, organizations that do it better than they do. Amy has recruited an exceptionally talented and hard-working team of high-level professionals who know their stuff and can be trusted to produce honest, accurate policy analysis.
Love them or hate them, folks know that MBP is a certain force in Jefferson City that will be at the table during any big tax and budget discussion.
MISSOURI NURSES ASSOCIATION
BY KYNA IMAN
Nurses are educated and trained to care for and address their patients’ needs. However who is taking care of the nurses?
The Missouri Nurses Association is dedicated to being the strong voice for all Missouri’s nurses. They work tirelessly (just like nurses do) to promote and enhance safe and accountable professional nursing practice.
Missouri is a huge state with many diverse healthcare settings – ranging from small rural health clinics to large urban hospital environments. MONA is there to work with leaders in the healthcare industry on student loans, workplace safety issues, and nurse reimbursement equality, to name just a few issues on their legislative agenda.
I am so proud to work with such a visionary group of advocates to help break down barriers to healthcare access across our state, and to enhance the health and well-being of all Missourians.
SEAN SOENDKER NICHOLSON
BY LAURA SWINFORD
Sean is always in motion. He eats fast, walks fast, talks fast, works fast–and thinks even faster. He multi-tasks like a line cook during a dinner rush, and only requires reliable wifi, decent coffee and a good lunch (preferably Mexican) to keep him going. Combine all this with a just-shy-of-insane work ethic and a moral compass that never veers from true north, and depending what side of history you’re on, you’ve either got a very big problem or a very helpful ally.
What makes him so dangerous and frustrating to some, and so admired and trusted by others, is that he never allows credit, ego or partisanship to come before the work. And the work is always about making Missouri a more just, fair and equitable place. The work he’s done for years to fight for workers’ rights, reproductive justice, Medicaid Expansion, LGBTQ equality, economic dignity and fairness in our democratic process has been significant and lasting. Some of his contributions are known, some are not. (He’s more comfortable with the latter.)
Sean is no bleeding heart, and he’s not intimidated by odds, titles or bankrolls. He’s been doing this work for over a decade–and he’s only getting better. (One word: CLEAN)
BY JIM BOO FOLEY
In my 26 years of lobbying, I have seen numerous lobbyists and government relations firms come and go. I can honestly say I have never seen anyone build such an impressive operation like the one Jay Hahn has built with Hahn|O’Daniel. Over the years, we have begun sharing clients and closely working together. After working with Jay, I can tell you that Hahn|O’Daniel integrates just the right amount of “old school” style with a modern, cutting-edge approach to government affairs. At the helm of Hahn|O’Daniel, Jay’s instincts as a government relations strategist have led the firm to become one of the fastest growing government relations practices under the Capitol dome. Jay and his firm are more than just a face in a crowded hearing room, they work tirelessly to build relationships and educate lawmakers on the views and concerns of their clients. Jay’s word is his bond. He is a young man of honor and integrity. If the next generation of lobbyists and advocates are as honest and as principled as Jay, our state will be in a better place.
BY TODD GRAVES
Jewell Patek is known for leading in a way that combines his family values and government experience to help promote positive change for the state of Missouri.
Owner of Jefferson City-based Patek & Associates, Jewell doesn’t seek out the spotlight but tirelessly works as a conservative activist and remains an unquestionable asset to the state. He previously served three terms in the Missouri House of Representatives for District 7, which encompasses all or part of Carroll, Linn and Livingston counties.
During his time in office, Patek served on seven House committees and sponsored or co-sponsored numerous House bills aimed at improving education and social services and promoting economically beneficial tax policies.
Patek has remained true to his rural hometown roots in Chillicothe, while serving as a military police officer in the Missouri National Guard, pursuing a career in law and fulfilling his duties of public office. These experiences shaped his approach to leadership and advocacy as a respected voice in Missouri’s political scene.
As a recent example of his impact, Jewell supported Senate Bill 73, which would require all Missouri schools to have reading intervention programs in place for grades kindergarten through four as well as screening for and treatment of dyslexia. He is a parent of two daughters with dyslexia and truly understands the need to promote literacy efforts in the state.
This sums up Jewell’s political advocacy. He is truly informed, experienced and aligned with the voice of Missouri’s voters. We are lucky to have him provide an impassioned voice with the best interest of this state’s people in mind.
PALM STRATEGIC GROUP
BY STUART MURRAY
Only a few years ago Jonathan Ratliff and Scott Dieckhaus launched Palm Strategic Group out of their living rooms. Many victories later Palm counts among its clients a United States Congressman, the Majority Leaders of both the Missouri House and Senate, countless legislators, judges, local officials, ballot measures, and Missouri businesses.
How do they deliver one victory after another? Hard work. Plain and simple. (I’m also pretty sure Ratliff hasn’t slept in at least a decade). Nobody works harder for their clients than Ratliff and Dieckhaus. You’d be hard-pressed to find a lawmaker in Jeff City who hasn’t called either of them at 2am for advice—and gotten a real conversation instead of a voicemail.
You need a team to knock doors for you? They’re there—coffee in one hand, iPad in the other. You need people to walk with you in a parade on the other side of the state and on short notice? Somehow they marshal their friends out of bed at 5am on a Saturday to make it in time for an 8am start. You need three more direct mail pieces designed, printed, and in the mail by the end of the week? The get it done.
Ratliff and Dieckhaus’ record of victories, and the talented team they’ve built at Palm, speaks to their incredible generosity and unmatched work ethic.
Murray, a former Chief of Staff to Senator Caleb Rowden and Vice President at Palm Strategic Group, currently serves as the Communications Director for the Senate Majority Caucus.
BY MARK RHOADS
Ryan “Rowdy” Rowden is a foremost expert on oil and gas issues in Missouri. What makes him special is his passion for policy development and his willingness to go to great lengths to provide information and answers. His personality guarantees some fun when working with him. He’s definitely in the top 100 (probably in the top ten).
Ryan needs no introduction in the Capitol because he knows virtually every legislator and lobbyist.
Those who know him well know his passion for outdoor activities.
SHOW ME VICTORIES
BY Irl Scissors
If you work in Missouri politics, you are well aware of Show Me Victories. Every election cycle SMV engages in Missouri’s fiercest political battles. And they usually win.
Whether it’s a multi-million dollar statewide campaign or a local bond issue, they attack with the same vigor. From direct mail to multi-platform digital media, SMV succeeds. They challenged a long-time incumbent county executive and won. They ran the race to elect St. Louis’ first female mayor, she won. And as significant, if not as important, they convinced the Piasa Township Sanitary District voters to sell their sewer system by a vote of 50-0. Whatever the mountain, or hill, SMV climbs it.
Though proudly based in St. Louis City, SMV’s team hails from Kansas City, Jefferson City, St. Charles, St. Louis, and beyond. They are keenly aware of their roots and stay fiercely loyal to them. They understand Missouri voters, too.
Powered by their fearless leader, Michael Kelley, King of all Missouri Media, SMV takes on his larger than life persona. Staying out of the spotlight (usually) is Michael’s right arm, Patrick Lynn. Patrick, an encyclopedia of Missouri politics, in many ways has seen it all. His instincts, sharp wit, and perfectionism are what keeps SMV at the top.
SMV’s team blends old school, with new starting with Megan McBride. Megan is not afraid to mix it up with politicos often times twice her age on radio, television, or in St. Louis City Hall. She’s campaigned all her life and is NOT to be underestimated.
The control room of SMV is quietly where much of the action takes place. Lead by digital strategist Braxton Payne and research and polling guru Bryce Summary, SMV provides clients with creative and state of the art digital options driven by critically focused data collection. Summary, plucked by Kelley as a newly minted UMSL Ph.D., is one of the sharpest minds in his field. His focus on data driven results serves as the backbone for all SMV campaigns. Payne and his deputy Tom Platten then transform it into a winning message to view on any platform.
The most impressive quality about SMV is that they are family. They see each other as equals from the top down. They eat together, they vacation together, they celebrate, and mourn together. To many, their experience and success is what makes them, but their bond is why Show Me Victories stands above the rest.
BY RODNEY BOYD
As the country’s fifth-largest publicly traded natural gas company in the country, Spire continuously makes a positive impact on Missouri. From delivering safe, reliable natural gas to generously supporting programs that advance Missouri’s communities, Spire’s commitment to our state is noteworthy.
Under the leadership of Spire’s president in Missouri, Scott Carter, the company has helped reshape the natural gas distribution landscape in Missouri. With the acquisition of Missouri Gas Energy in 2013, they now serve 1.1 million homes and businesses across our state.
Spire’s continuous commitment to providing those homes and businesses with affordable natural gas, in addition to their dedication to advancing the state of Missouri, makes Spire one of our top 100.
BY MARK REARDON
When I was looking for a bigger bench for my Reardon Roundtable on KMOX a few years back someone suggested Jack Cardetti and at that point I didn’t even know him. We had an instant connection because he lives in Columbia, MO a place I called home for 13 years—we know many of the same people and share many similar MId-Mo experiences. But beyond that Jack was a great fit for my Roundtable because of his sharp intellect, handle of the issues on both Missouri and National politics and his quick wit. Those are some of the same qualities that make Jack easy to work with and so successful with the numerous campaigns and public officials he’s over the past decade at Tightline Strategies. Steady, articulate, thoughtful, strategic and passionate…that’s Jack Cardetti.
BY DICK BURKE
You always want someone on your side at the Capitol. That is one of the reasons Trent Watson is a person you should know. Having worked with him on common issues prior to him coming on board with us, I knew he was trustworthy and highly respected, qualities that are essential to being successful in that environment, but he was also extremely effective. That fact was very prominent in the decision to hire him as our consultant. Trent knows the process, the players and has the political instincts needed to make the right move at the right time. Much of what makes him successful is the fact that he loves what he does! There will always be some pretty rough days over there, but good lobbyists keep an even keel. Trent certainly does. It is not a job for everyone but he definitely has found his niche.
We have been extremely happy with what he brings to our legislative program. There is better communication and engagement with our leadership and membership as a whole. It is also evident that he is always looking for ways to improve how we interact with the General Assembly. He’s made a remarkable difference for our association in just his second session with us. We hope he will be our point person at the Capitol for many years to come.
Every odd year, the Missouri Times releases the 100 List. The 100 people you need to know in the Missouri State Capitol. The 100 people who are most influential, the most effective, and the most relied on in the building. Narrowing it down to 100 is always painful, but this year, we asked 100 people – from current and past governors, company presidents, clients, friends, past and present (and future) legislators, and more – to write about those nominated and chosen for the 100 List.
For 2019, here are the 100 people you must know in the Capitol. This is one of five groups of this year’s list.
The list does not include those currently elected.
READ THE FULL EDITION ONLINE, or pick up at the Capitol’s Chez Monet, J. Pfenny’s, Tolson’s, or the Missouri Times offices on Madison St.
Rachael Herndon was the editor at The Missouri Times and also produced This Week in Missouri Politics, published Missouri Times Magazine, and co-hosted the #MoLeg podcast. She joined The Missouri Times in 2014, returning to political reporting after working as a campaign and legislative staffer.
Rachael studied at the University of Missouri – Columbia. She lives in Jefferson City with her husband, Brandon, and their two children.