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Jindal to headline Missouri Lincoln Days festivities in February

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 5, 2012 - Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is slated to be the opening night keynote speaker for this year's Lincoln Days, Missouri Republicans' annual statewide celebration.

Jindal -- seen by some as a potential vice presidential hopeful this fall -- was last in Missouri in 2010 to raise money for now-U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.

Lincoln Days is hosted by the Missouri Republican Party and the Missouri Association of Republicans. The event, which rotates among the state's three largest metropolitan areas, is to be held Feb. 17-19 in Kansas City.

"Over the years, Missouri's Lincoln Days celebration has attracted some of the biggest names in national politics -- and this year will be no different. We are excited that Gov. Bobby Jindal will share his vision of our party's future with Missouri's committed Republican volunteers and activists," said David Cole, chairman of the Missouri Republican Party.

"Gov. Jindal is a rising star in the Republican Party, and his extraordinary record in Louisiana proves yet again that strong, conservative leadership works."

During his first four years in office, the state GOP said in a statement, "Gov. Jindal has amassed an impressive conservative record: He has cut the state budget by 26 percent, cut the state's income tax by $1.1 billion, and championed some of the strictest ethics requirements in the nation."

"As we approach a critical election, our annual Lincoln Days celebration will play an important role in energizing the Republican Party's most devoted volunteers and grassroots activists," said Eric Zahnd, president of the Missouri Association of Republicans. "We are honored that Gov. Jindal will be joining us, and his attendance will once again remind us of the importance of electing strong conservatives at every level of government."

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.