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Politically Speaking: Rep. Adams on what Greitens should, and shouldn't, do for education

State Rep. Joe Adams, D-University City
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
State Rep. Joe Adams, D-University City

On the latest episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome Missouri state Rep. Joe Adams, a Democrat from University City.

It’s the first appearance on the podcast for Adams, who has been involved in area politics for more than three decades.

Adams – a retired history professor — served 21 years as a U City councilman, and then 14 years as the city’s mayor. The latter included a two-year stint as president of the St. Louis County Municipal League.

He won a 2014 bid for the 86th District state House seat, which takes in all or parts of Hanley Hills, Pagedale, University City, Vinita Park, ​Vinita Terrace and Wellston. 

That victory came after his 2010 loss for the Missouri Senate seat now held by fellow Democrat Maria Chappelle-Nadal, also of University City.

In 2018, Adams plans to try again for the Senate, because Chappelle-Nadal will have to retire because of term limits.

In the Missouri House, Adams sits on three committees: local government, elections and higher education.

Among his observations on the podcast:

  • He’s opposed to the state Board of Education removing Commissioner Margie Vandeven from her post. Gov. Eric Greitens has now appointed a majority of the members of the board, prompting speculation that Vandeven could be on her way out.


  • He said he’s uncomfortable with an education commissioner who is seen as beholden to the governor. "And this is an attempt to model this government after his philosophy," he said.


  • Greitens’ budget ended up making big cuts to higher education institutions. Adams said that could place Missouri at a competitive disadvantage. "I believe, if we really truly want this state to be business friendly, as some people are saying, instead of cutting taxes, you've got to make sure the educational system is top-notch," he said.


  • Unlike many Democratic officials, Adams opposed a constitutional amendment that imposed campaign donation restrictions for some Missouri candidates. Adams said after studying the measure, known as Amendment 2, he became convinced that there were too many ways to get around the contribution restrictions.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies

Follow Joe Adams on Twitter: @bear_adams

Music: “Brown Paper Bag” by Roni Size Reprazent

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.