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Politically Speaking: Secretary of State Kander On Ethics Reform, Voter ID And More

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio.

This week the Politically Speaking crew welcomes Secretary of State Jason Kander to the podcast. Kander, a Democrat from Kansas City, narrowly captured the statewide office in 2012 after a hard-fought contest with Republican Shane Schoeller.

During the show, Kander discussed his push to alter Missouri’s campaign finance and lobbyist laws. He announced on the show that he’s throwing his support behind an ethics bill, to be introduced shortly by state Rep. Kevin McManus, D-Kansas City, that would bar lobbyist gifts, cap campaign contributions and force former lawmakers to wait before becoming lobbyists.

"You shouldn't be able to be a legislator on Thursday, and a lobbyist on Friday,'' Kander said.  If approved by the General Assembly, the bill would set a national standard for ethics reform, he said, and would set forward "campaign finance laws that other states can look to."

Kander, a Democrat, acknowledged that it will be a challenge to persuade legislators to support the bill.  However, he noted that Gov. Jay Nixon and a bipartisan cadre of legislators have come out in favor of some ethics changes.

During the show, Kander also said:

  • When he runs for re-election in 2016, he hopes to be able to know that he won “the same day that he voted.” That was a reference to how his race against Schoeller wasn’t decided until Missouri’s final precincts were tallied -- early in the morning after the election.
  • There isn’t a “big ethics” lobby to help push ethics legislation to the finish line.
  • He continues to oppose any legislation requiring voters to show government-issued photo identification at the polls.
  • More than 500 people have registered to vote or changed their voting addresses through his office’s new website.
  • A lawmaker called one of his colleagues to apologize about his tone during a floor debate after listening to a replay of their discussion on Kander’s website that archives audio of House and Senate debates.

Follow Chris McDaniel on Twitter@csmcdaniel

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter@jmannies

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter@jrosenbaum

Follow Jason Kander on Twitter@JasonKander

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Jo Mannies is a freelance journalist and former political reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.
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