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Politically Speaking: A live edition with former House Speaker Tilley and Missouri Sen. Nasheed

Steve Tilley and Jamilah Nasheed
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On this week's edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to host a special edition* of the show with former Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley and Missouri State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed.

(*From a technical standpoint, all Politically Speaking podcasts are recorded live and then disseminated throughout the Internet. But this week's show was recorded in front of an audience in St. Louis Public Radio's community room at Grand Center.)

Tilley, a Republican from Perryville, entered the Missouri House in 2006 and served as House Speaker from 2011 through most of 2012.  Nasheed, a Democrat from St. Louis, served in the House with Tilley. She's been in the state Senate since 2013.

While occupying different sides of the political spectrum, Tilley and Nasheed have been friends for years -- even though they disagree on a number of hot-button issues, from guns to taxes.

But during the show, they agreed on two political topics. Both predict that U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., will become the GOP nominee for president. (Tilley contends that Rubio will defeat likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Nasheed predicts a strong Clinton victory.)

And both agree that Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder appears to have the strongest chance of capturing Missouri's GOP nomination for governor. He currently has three opponents.  Both emphasize that they see the likely Democratic contender, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster, as being the overall front runner in the contest to get elected as Missouri's next governor in November 2016.

Nasheed and Tilley debated a number of topics, including:

  • Impact of the suicide of then-state Auditor Tom Schweich -- Tilley pointed to lieutenant governor candidate Mike Parson, who has pledged a positive campaign, in part to honor Schweich. Nasheed said Schweich’s death, in the midst of his own campaign for governor, has added to the cynicism of would-be voters, who are “turned off by the negativity’’ of campaigns.
  • Guns -- Both said that efforts to push for gun restrictions appeared doomed in the General Assembly, although Nasheed promised to continue to press the issue. Tilley said gun control is a "non-starter" among most Republicans.
  • Ferguson fallout -- Both acknowledged that the St. Louis region and the state face numerous challenges, many of them centering around race, when it comes to tackling many of the issues brought to the surface by the 2014 fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. But both agreed it's unclear what more the Missouri General Assembly will do, beyond the municipal courts changes approved this year.
  • 2016 legislative session – Both expect a renewed fight over right-to-work, which would curb union rights in the workplace, and on social issues like abortion and Planned Parenthood. Nasheed predicts a GOP effort to pass a photo-ID law, or impose other "restrictions" on voters.
  • Transportation – In response to an audience question, Tilley and Nasheed agreed that the state and the General Assembly need to confront the underfunding of Missouri’s transportation needs. Both agreed that the state’s gas tax, among the lowest in the country, is too low. But Tilley said any increase is opposed by most Republicans. However, he said the GOP will need to come up with an alternative, such as turning parts of Interstate 70, which is in bad shape, into a toll road.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Steve Tilley on Twitter: @teamtilley

Follow Jamilah Nasheed on Twitter: @senatornasheed

Music: "Everlasting Love" by Howard Jones

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.