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. If you have any questions or comments about the list, email Scott Faughn at email@example.com.
A few people from each category will be posted each day. Keep an eye out.
As one leading Missouri House member put it, “Brian Grace is one of the most talented up and coming lobbyist in the state.” Brian is a cancer survivor who lives in Columbia, Mo., and has wanted to be a lobbyist his entire professional life. He did work in the Blunt administration’s Department of Economic Development, and a large portion of his practice is in assisting business development.
President, Missouri Cable Television Association
Simino is one of the most-liked lobbyists in Jefferson City and he has the list of legislative accomplishments to show for it. During this session, he played some skillful defenses against several interests looking to tack fees on to cable customers and advanced legislation of his own. He has also put together a talented team around him including Daryl Duwe, Owner of Prestige Powers. Outside of the Capitol, Simino also has one the best golf outings of any association in the state.
Government relations, Pelopidas, LLC
While Jackson is associated with Pelopidas, he has a varied client portfolio that even includes the St. Louis Blues. Jackson is also deeply involved with the various issues Pelopidas monitors — from education, local control and tax policy. David is one of the up-and-coming lobbyists in the St. Louis area. He also has a background in marketing and fundraising, including a stint working for a firm in South Africa.
President/CEO, Missouri Hospital Association
If Medicaid expansion is successful, it will be largely due to the tactical strategy of Kuhn. He is skillfully putting together a powerful coalition of corporate and rural hospital boards, along with several business groups, to pressure Republican legislators to expand Medicaid. No one in Jefferson City understands the legislation better than him.
Principal, John Bardgett & Associates
Bardgett has the biggest personality and the longest client list of anyone in Jefferson City. He started out working for the Speaker of the House and is now at the top of the ladder in Jefferson City. Many of the big issues that passed during last session had his help at one point or another. Moreover, there is no person on earth who can tell a story like the incomparable Bardgett.
Principal, Kyna Iman & Associates
She is simply one of the most connected of any St. Louis lobbyists who spent the first five months of the year in the Capitol. Little to nothing involving her clients slips past her, as she has friends in nearly every corner of the Capitol and even the state. Her client portfolio extends from corporations to St. Louis area interests and several state associations.
Governmental Relations Director, Laclede Gas
Pleus carries a big responsibility representing Laclede Gas and has consistently produced results that other utility companies envy. This session, he worked quickly and moved a gas ISRS bill through the General Assembly. Larry is one person in the Capitol culture that spends very little time in waiting rooms as most legislators are eager to see him. (Photo from the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association)
Governmental Relations Director, AFL-CIO
A former County Chairman in St. Charles for the campaigns of former Gov. Bob Holden and founder of the St. Charles County Young Democrats, this lifetime union-advocate and member has been a labor man his whole life. The active and unrelenting Louis is capable and strongly opposed to anything with even a whiff of anti-union policies. Representatives from purple districts with strong union presence should be wary of getting on Louis’ bad side.
Principal, Grote & Associates
Formerly with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, this Kansas City native has wasted no time in establishing himself as a top-tier lobbyist. Grote is also an attorney who has an extensive background in both federal and state Republican politics.
Principal, RJ Scherr & Associates
Scherr’s practice includes several cities and as many state associations as any lobbyist in the Capitol. He is one of the most direct and effective advocates for his groups and does a good job of connecting legislators with members of his associations in their districts. (Photo from the Missouri Governor’s Mansion Board)
President, Associated Industries of Missouri
McCarty is an unwavering advocate of all things supporting employers and growing jobs in Missouri. He has led AIM to taking the lead on opposing Medicaid expansion and pushing for an override of the tax cut veto. There is no more consistently conservative advocate for Missouri industry than McCarty.
Principal, Strategic Capitol Consulting
He left the Speaker’s office and has been busy opening a new practice with so many A-list clients at the end of session. He also passed several of the major bills he worked on and was on the very inner circle of new Congressman Jason Smith’s advisors.
Director of Governmental Affairs, IBEW
Green is a former legislator from St. Louis County who knows every issue from every angle. He was a member of the IBEW before entering the legislature and no union has anyone with more practical knowledge of the public policy process. He simply knows how to make friends and, more importantly, be a friend.
Regional Director of Government Relations, Ford Motor Company
Has been in a fixture in the Capitol culture since 1984, and is now a go-to person on industrial issues. He is a former chairman of AIM, so he not only knows the words but the music as well. Reinhart is extremely active not only on state matters — being on the board of the state Chamber of Commerce and FERAF — but is very active in the Kansas City area economic development ventures as well.
Vice President of Governmental Affairs, Missouri Chamber of Commerce
King had one of the most eventful jobs in the Capitol this year between tax cuts, second injury fund reform and Medicaid expansion — there never seemed to be a dull moment for her. She has a long track record in government service and lobbying which has most certainly come in handy.
Principal, Barklage and Knodell
To put it simply, Knodell wins races. He has an unmatched record in Republican Senate primaries and has won several tough general elections. He spent some time running HRCC and is now one of the most sought after consultants for new candidates in Missouri. More than anything else, he is respected for his honesty and the ability of other people in the Capitol to trust his word.
Political Reporter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Crisp has burst onto the scene and quickly become one of the most-read reporters from the state’s most well-known newspaper. She is an Arkansas native who studied in Mississippi and has brought a fresh perspective to the Capitol, being well respected amongst legislators and a fun person to be around.
Editorial Page Editor, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Twitter: @tonymess
A Missouri transfer from Colorado, Messenger is undoubtedly a need-to-know media person. Messenger is the editorial page editor for the Post-Dispatch, a job that includes a lot of phone calls, research and the occasional Boardwalk Empire reference. Messenger worked in the Jefferson City bureau of the Post-Dispatch until a few years ago when he made his way to the main office in St. Louis. Even when people disagree with him, Messenger still engages, listens and discusses the issues — and he always backs his argument up.
Chief of Staff, Sen. Tom Dempsey
Scott is recognized as one of the most professional and knowledgeable people in state government. His background in law from the University of Missouri-Columbia and practicing with the Graves firm give him another level of understanding of the practical impact of the policies.
Chief of Staff, House Speaker Tim Jones
Smith made a mark early on during this session. He helped Jones navigate some rules changes for the 97th General Assembly that gave the House Republicans more power in conference committees and making it impossible for Democrats to offer surprise amendments on the floor — a common minority party-stalling tactic. Coupled with his consulting background, Smith’s sage advice has been invaluable to Jones, who has had to navigate politically-tricky Medicaid expansion, a tax cut bill and subsequent veto and major pushes for education reform and fixes to the once-bankrupt Second Injury Fund. With Jones openly weighing running for higher office, Smith’s role as his chief confidant cannot be overstated.
Chief of Staff, Sen. Kurt Schaefer
Serving as Chief of Staff to the Senate Budget Chairman can be a thankless task, but everyone in the Capitol recognizes the countless hours of work he puts into the process. He also has a long background in electoral politics working for several current and former legislators.
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.