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Politically Speaking: Rep. Rowden on ethics, the Rams and Columbia City Council

Bram Sable-Smith I KBIA

This week’s Politically Speaking breaks some new ground. Through the magic of radio, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies joined with KBIA’s Bram Sable-Smith to interview state Rep. Caleb Rowden.

The Columbia Republican and Rock Bridge High School graduate was first elected to the Missouri House in 2012. Rowden had a somewhat unconventional road to Missouri state politics: He was a successful Christian rock musician before running for a vacant House seat in 2012.

That year, Rowden defeated two former state senators to capture a seat that includes areas of Boone and Randolph counties.Since then, Rowden has been involved with some major bills – including legislation that passed last week to reconfigure the state’s ethics laws. He’s also become the chairman of one of the Missouri House’s economic development committees – which makes him a key player in approving incentives and tax breaks. That makes him a key player in the efforts to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

During the show, Rowden said:

  • He’s optimistic about the chances for an ethics bill to cap lobbyists’ gifts at $25 and require departing legislators to wait a year before registering as lobbyists. But he’s unsure whether the General Assembly will pass his bill to require nonprofits known as 501C4s to identify their donors if the nonprofits spend more than a quarter of their money on political campaigns in Missouri.
  • He’s wary about Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s intentions. If the Rams move west, Rowden predicts another NFL team will move to St. Louis within 10 years.
  • He defends his push for bills to restrict or overturn actions by the Columbia City Council, such as a new ordinance that bars public or private employers from asking job candidates if they’d ever been arrested or convicted.
  • He doesn’t see the Missouri General Assembly reconsidering Medicaid expansion any time soon.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter:@jmannies

Follow Bram Sable-Smith on Twitter: @besables

Follow Caleb Rowden on Twitter: @calebrowden44

Music: “All I Need is You” by Caleb Rowden & “Reinventing Your Exit” by Underoath

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.