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Politically Speaking: Former House Speaker Tilley on the pressures of wielding the gavel

Former House Speaker Steve Tilley
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week’s extra edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley to the show.

The Perryville Republican – who now has a residence in Chesterfield – was previously on the show in 2013, and provided candid insights into his tenure as speaker.We asked him back to discuss two big stories percolating throughout the Missouri political universe – the resignation of Republican House Speaker John Diehl and the fight over “right to work.” 

Tilley was close to Diehl, a Town and Country Republican who pieced together a sizable body of work as a legislator. Diehl, of course, stepped down from office in May afterthe Kansas City Star published a story about how he exchanged sexually suggestive texts with a 19-year-old intern.

Even though he’s no longer in office, Tilley is still a major figure in the debate over “right to work.” That’s the shorthand supporters use to describe legislation that bars arrangements in which employers and unions require all workers in a bargaining unit to pay union dues if a majority voted to organize.

Tilley – who became a lobbyist after he termed out of the Missouri House – is representing the Missouri AFL-CIO in trying to defeat "right to work."

While Rep. Eric Burlison’s bill passed both chambers of the Missouri General Assembly, it didn’t draw enough votes to override Gov. Jay Nixon’s inevitable veto. Tilley will be part of a team of lobbyists who will try to sink "right to work" if it comes up for an override vote later this year. Tilley will concentrate on fellow Republicans who currently side with Democrats against "right to work."

During the show, Tilley said:

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Steve Tilley on Twitter: @TeamTilley (but he really doesn’t use it much anymore.)

Music: “Millstone” by Brand New

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
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.