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Politically Speaking: Minority Leader Quade On Democratic Priorities During The 2019 Session

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
House Minority Leader Crystal Quade, D-Springfield

House Minority Leader Crystal Quade joined St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum as the latest guest on Politically Speaking.

The Springfield Democrat was elected as minority leader late last year, succeeding former Rep. Gail McCann Beatty of Kansas City. Quade was first elected to the House in 2016 to represent part of Springfield.

After the 2018 election cycle, Quade is the only Democrat to represent a district that’s south of Interstate 70. She’s noted that her district is relatively competitive, as much of the terrain was represented by a GOP lawmaker from 2010 to 2012.

Before becoming minority leader, Quade was a member of the powerful House Budget Committee. Among other things, Quade took a prominent role in 2017 advocating to reverse budget cuts to in-home care services for the poor and elderly. A last-minute effort to restore the services ended up passing the Legislature, but then-Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed the measure.

While the minority leader is substantially less powerful than the House speaker, Quade appoints her fellow Democrats to serve on standing committees — and make recommendations for who serves on special committees.

Here’s what Quade had to say during the show:

  • Quade got into the race for minority leader relatively late in 2018, defeating Democratic state Rep. Gina Mitten of Richmond Heights. She noted that Missouri Democrats are at a stage where they need to rebuild. “We as a party across the state are really having to dig in and evaluate a lot and make changes,” Quade said.
  • One of Quade’s big priorities is trying to preserve a number of voter-approved initiatives, including a new state legislative redistricting system. She also said her caucus will stand up against any chance to reimpose right to work, which voters repealed last August.
  • Quade acknowledged that some members of her caucus, particularly African-American Democrats, have misgivings about the new state redistricting system known as Clean Missouri. “At the same time, I do believe it will increase chances in more places than we currently have,” said Quade, pointing out that Clean Missouri has language in it aimed at protecting minority representation.
  • Because of a miscalculation by the Department of Revenue, Missouri taxpayers could see their expected refund decrease or actually owe taxes.Quade has sponsored legislation allowing a one-month extension or payment plan for people that owe less than $200. “The state made a mistake. We know that. The Department of Revenue has already admitted fault here. The citizens should not be punished and have to pay these extra penalties because of our mistake. And we also did not let them know ahead of time.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Crystal Quade on Twitter: @crystal_quade

Music: "Paris in Flames" by Thursday

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