In alphabetical order, The Missouri Times collected a list of more than 100 people in the world of politics and political media that you need to know if you don’t already. The list doesn’t include legislators, but rather their staff and the governmental relations personnel and consultants that affect the outcomes of the legislator’s actions. Follow them on Twitter, familiarize yourself with their work and keep an eye out, because these people are not going anywhere. This list appeared in the Aug. 1 issue of The Missouri Times.
A few people from each category will be posted each day. Keep an eye out.
If you have any questions or comments about the list, email Scott Faughn at email@example.com.
CEO, Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives
The Co-ops are driving forces among rural legislators. Their support is also courted during every session that there is an energy bill before the legislature. Hart has been able to be effective without any mention of PSC oversight of the cooperatives. His background with Missouri Co-ops and running the Kansas Co-op Association pays dividends for his Association and the credibility was validated last session when the CEO of Westinghouse attended a reception with several Co-op board members.
State Director, National Federation of Independent Businesses
Jones runs one of the most powerful grassroots organizations in the state. The National Federation of Independent Businesses literally has members in every part of the state who are not only well respected small business owners, but are also historically unafraid to contact their legislators. He is one person who can get most anyone in the general assembly on the phone, anytime.
Regional Director of State & Governmental Affairs, Monsanto Co.
Unlike many governmental affairs directors, Simpson is deeply involved with the members of the General Assembly. He is a very active member of the St. Louis business community and has an informative, yet still opinionated, Twitter feed. Simpson has the depth of relationships that, in two phone calls, helps him gauge the pulse of the Capitol for himself while wielding the clout of representing one of the largest corporations in America.
Executive Director, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 72
Mazur is one of the most intelligent and hilarious forces in the political world. The former Dean of the Tiger Blood Tourney, he is labor’s most articulate spokesperson in the media and the Republican party’s most pointed critic on Twitter. No one can use humor to deliver slicing criticisms quite like him. In fact, he is so successful on Twitter, he has inspired a parody account of himself (with inspiration from Larry Conners).
Lobbyist, John Bardgett & Associates
Parris comes to the table largely unaffiliated with either side of the aisle. Having spent 18 years with Bardgett & Associates, Parris is one of the most recognizable members of the firm and well-respected on both sides as fair, open and straight talking. His long-term relationship with Bardgett makes him a staple in the halls of the Capitol.
Lobbyist, Flotron & McIntosh
Gaines is an old-school lobbyist who has deep connections that stretch back to the 90s. He is someone who knows everyone and if you need someone who will give it to you straight and pull no punches, Gaines simply gets it done.
Vice President of Government Affairs, SSM Health care
He has been lobbying since 1982, and is now a leading voice of economic development matters in the state. He is currently on the board of AIM and has been a former head of the RCGA. No one has a better grasp on Missouri economic development issues than Hovan.
Principal, Barklage and Knodell
Every Missouri Republican has crossed paths with Barklage at some point in their career. He is credited with helping the Republican caucus take over majorities in the House and Senate, as well as being closely associated with Lt. Governor Peter Kinder. There is never a dull moment around one of the most accomplished and magnetic personalities in Missouri politics. (Photo from Fired Up! Missouri)
Principal, The Kelley Group
Lynn is simply one of the brightest policy minds in the state. He has a unique background of experience in state government, but has a sense of how politics intertwines with how policy is made. If you have a question about state government, Lynn should be your first contact.
Principal, Martin Communication Group
Martin is a heavy hitter in Democratic politics. Having helped manage Claire McCaskill’s first campaign for Senate and Gov. Bob Holden’s 2000 race, Martin also serves as the Director of Government Affairs for the large Husch Blackwell legal firm. In that capacity, he’s worked with the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Healthcare Association as they work the politically tricky task of expanding Medicaid. Martin has also been credited with developing a grassroots campaign for the Mortgage Investors Corporation. Working both as a lobbyist and campaigner through his firm make him a double threat.
Political Correspondent, Missourinet
Bob Priddy is no longer just a Capitol reporter. After the many years and legislative sessions he has put in, he is now part of the Capitol. Priddy has covered state politics for decades now, dating back to when session took place every other year. Priddy is an asset for the younger journalists in the press corps with his wealth of knowledge on all things political and about the Capitol building itself.
Reporter, St. Louis Public Radio
Griffin is everywhere in Jefferson City with a microphone and recorder in hand and an iPad in the other. He does the work of teams, proving that nobody in the Capitol works harder than Griffin, arguably. He is also a sage source of history in the Capitol as his tenure lengthens.
Legislative Assistant, Rep. Craig Redmon
Belt wears many hats. She works for Redmond during session and the interim, but also works for the fundraising arm of House Speaker Tim Jones staff. She also works part time for high-powered consultant James Harris and has plenty of experience when it comes to campaigning and raising money. Her access to legislative issues through her work with Redmond make her somewhat of a triple threat.
This Associate Minister and former intern at the EPA, Secretary of State’s Office and Department of Veterans affairs has no shortage of work to do as the leader of Nasheed’s staff. Nasheed worked on a contentious education bill that Groce worked tirelessly on. She’s also promised to “stand and fight” every voter ID legislation moving through the body, expected to hit the Senate next year. Groce will be, and has been, a key element to keeping the notoriously outspoken Senator focused, and well researched.
Chief of Staff, Sen. Eric Schmitt
Schmitt had arguably one of the better recent legislative sessions among the Senate. A leading Senator on both the “liquor wars” debate and the ISRS battle, Schmitt is likely running for AG when he is termed out, and his significant fundraising make his candidacy all but certain. Panik was vital in crafting Schmitt’s public stance on some of the most contentious issues in the upper chamber, and his attention to detail and work ethic make him invaluable to Schmitt, who likely will bring Panik with him, should he continue to rise up through the ranks.
Scott Faughn is the publisher of The Missouri Times, owner of the Clayton Times in Clayton, Mo; SEMO Times in Poplar Bluff, Mo.; and host of the only statewide political television show, This Week in Missouri Politics.