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.
Barry Hart | CEO, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
The Coops are always one of the most influential lobbying groups in the legislature. They can get the attention of any rural Republican and specialize in utilizing their coop boards throughout the state to be a driving force in their clout, which never seems to fade.
Brad Green | Executive Director of the Missouri Senate Campaign Committee
The MSCC seems like an unstoppable force running their historic majority to 25 senators in the 2014 cycle, and the man behind that success is their executive director Brad Green. Green has experience with the Engler and Romine campaigns, which were in competitive districts, and put him in the perfect position to help win Republican pickups in the 10th and 22nd.
Bryce Summary, Ph. D. | Director of Research, The Kelley Group
Bryce is an up-and-coming policy, polling, and opposition researcher on the Democratic side. He has a PhD in Political Science under the tutelage of Terry Jones and Ken Warren. Now, he’s learning how to play politics in real life at The Kelley Group.
Carl Bearden | Executive Director, United for Missouri
Bearden is a former House budget chairman who is now the executive director of what is described as the largest conservative grassroots organization in the state. He developed one of the first scorecards by a conservative group, a practice that is now copied by other groups. Bearden is also active on social media and makes several trips around the state building his organization.
Chris Molendorp | Lobbyist
Molendorp is a former legislator from Cass County who gained a reputation as a moderate and a problem solver during his time in the House. He is now transitioning that experience to the lobbying community, and he also has several very close relationships with his former colleagues, including a very close relationship with fellow Cass Countian Chris Koster. With a number of candidates running for statewide office in 2016, he will make his services even more sought after in the future.
Emily van Schenkhof | Deputy Director, Missouri KidsFirst
Emily is one of the friendliest faces in the Capitol, and she is impressively and peaceably passionate and informed about her cause – children. She has a comprehension of how policy impacts children in a way that benefits both sides of the aisle in a time when social and education reform is hot. Expect her to keep making friends, while aggressively advocating in a way that irritates few, if any, at all.
Jason Grill | Principal, JGrill Media
A media mogul who can deliver messages via TV, radio, and, perhaps most effectively, social media, Jason is a former legislator who understands the process and how to use communication strategies to move public opinion like few others.
Jim Foley | Partner, Burton & Liese
Foley has worked in both the legislative branch, serving for 10 years in the House, and executive branch with the Department of Economic Development. His client roster extends from corporate clients to labor, and he is one lobbyist who is nearly universally liked and respected by his colleagues.
Kevin Stamps | Political Consultant
Stamps is building a growing firm of influence in Democratic politics in Kansas City and adding more clients for the 2016 cycle. Stamps is young, but reminds some of the types of political talent that helped build the Republican dominance. If the Democrats begin to turn the tide in the state legislature, it will be with the talent of young operatives like Stamps.
Mark Rhoads | Principal, The Rhoads Company
Mark Rhoads is an old school lobbyist who has built his company on longstanding client relationships and impeccable integrity. He came from Senate staff and learned every nuance of the public policy process before entering lobbying. He now uses that knowledge in the term limits era to produce results for his clients. There isn’t anyone in Missouri politics with a better reputation for honesty than Rhoads.
Mike Deering | Executive Vice President, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association
A Missouri native, Deering grew up on a farm and rose up the ranks to run the Cattlemen’s Association three years ago. He is now a leading voice on the national level for cattlemen’s issues. He has a background in national issues and today is making strides for his members in Missouri.
Roy Temple | Chairman, Missouri Democratic Party
Temple is the grizzled veteran of Missouri Democratic politics. He is the senior counsel to any smart Democratic campaign, and he now serves as the chairman of the state party after working with nearly every major Democrat in the last 30 years. His political consulting practice has expanded throughout the nation now, but he is still one of the first calls people make when running in the Show-Me State.
Sean Nicholson | Executive Director, Progress Missouri
Nicholson has built one of the most important groups in the state in Progress Missouri. He has built an organization that successfully counters every message that doesn’t coincide with his. He is now becoming a more regular voice himself in the media and is one of the key voices in state Democratic politics.
Sharon Jones | Deputy Director, Missouri Trial Attorneys Association
There is never any small threat to the trial by jury process in a Republican super majority, but Jones has done a great deal of work to not only organize and inform traditional allies, but also to reach out and cultivate support from within the Republican caucus. In an era in Missouri where her organization is forced to play a lot of defense, she is known as an amazingly effective lobbyist.
Steve Tilley | President, Strategic Capitol Consulting
The club of former legislators that successfully become lobbyists is exclusive and small, but Tilley has done not only that, but is now one of the most highly sought after lobbyists in the state. Tilley’s clients are a laundry list of A-list corporations and interest groups who rely on his legislative and political expertise. If its 1 out of a 1,000 who can do it, Tilley is that one.