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NARAL endorses Newman in state House contest, raising profile of reproductive issues

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 16, 2009 - NARAL, a group known for its advocacy of reproductive rights, has announced it is endorsing Democrat Stacey Newman for state representative in the 73rd District seat that had been held by fellow Democrat Steve Brown.

Brown, of course, resigned his post last month when he pleaded guilty to a felony in connection with now-former state Sen. Jeff Smith's unsuccessful 2004 bid for Congress.

Newman was nominated by Democratic committeepeople in the district on Sept. 3. She now faces Republican Dan O'Sullivan in the Nov. 3 special election.

Since O'Sullivan's key campaign stances include his opposition to abortion, NARAL's support for Newman could elevate the issue in the contest.

Said Missouri NARAL executive director Pamela Sumners in a statement released this week:

“The tireless work of the pro-choice leadership in the state legislature is often all that stands between Missouri women and draconian restrictions on reproductive healthcare. With the right to choose under constant attack, we need stalwart supporters of reproductive rights in the General Assembly. We need leaders like Stacey Newman in the House of Representatives. We plan on working hard for her election, and are looking forward to working with her for the next eight years.”

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.