White House press secretary (and noted Guided by Voices superfan) Jay Carney resigned this afternoon, after three years in the position. Replacing him is Josh Earnest, who until today served as deputy press secretary.
Earnest hails from south Kansas City. His mother and father (a psychologist and a director of Pembroke Hill's athletic department, respectively) live in Red Bridge. Earnest attended the Barstow School and, later, Rice University, before embarking on a political career that has included stints on the campaigns of Mayor Lee Brown in Houston and Mike Bloomberg in New York. He joined Obama's team on his first presidential campaign, when he served as Iowa communications director.
Missouri state Rep. Nick Marshall didn't miss his opportunity to get his name in headlines this legislative session by moving to impeach Gov. Jay Nixon. Marshall was unhappy with Nixon's executive order earlier in the year to make the Missouri Department of Revenue accept joint tax returns from same-sex couples whose marriages are recognized in other states.
Lawmakers in Missouri and Kansas in recent years have tried to push various abortion restriction measures that seem to operate under the premise that women who seek to terminate their pregnancies are like impulse shoppers.
Proposals like those that would require women to look at ultrasound photos of their unborn fetuses before an abortion have popped in and out of both statehouses over the years. Such ideas serve only to reduce women making a difficult, major life decision to the level of someone skipping on their way to the abortion clinic thinking, "Hey, you only live once!"
On February 20, Breman Anderson put on another of his grandstanding displays before the Hickman Mills School Board.
That night, Anderson launched a long-winded exegesis about why the district should renew a transportation contract with Durham School Services, even though another company put in a bid that was $470,000 lower than Durham's and Superintendent Dennis Carpenter had just finished explaining all the problems that the district experienced with Durham's services over the years. Carpenter told board members that some bus routes weren't being run, other buses were not showing up on time and the district was not able to reach Durham personnel during emergencies.
None of that was enough to dissuade Anderson from backing Durham.
Rumors are percolating in Johnson County that outgoing Overland Park police chief John Douglass is eyeing a 2016 run to become the county's sheriff.
Reached on Monday, Douglass said people have talked to him about entering the race, but he hasn't made a decision.
"Certainly people have inquired about whether I would be interested, but that's a ways away," Doulgass told The Pitch.
Frank Denning is in his second term as Johnson County sheriff. He has told reporters that he won't seek a third term unless he suspects his possible successor will erode the office's autonomy from county government.
One of the less visible springtime elections is Kansas City's request for voters to bless a $500 million water bond issuance. City Hall wants to sell the bonds to get cash for long-overdue water-line replacements.
Water lines are one of the city's most neglected assets. They sprung upward of 1,200 leaks last year, owing to their age and slipshod installation decades (or in some cases, more than a century) ago.
Residents usually pass water and sewer bond issuances by hefty margins. And thus there's usually little or nothing in the way of organized opposition.
But the April 8 election hasn't gone unnoticed by some of the city's biggest engineering firms and construction organizations. The Progress KC political action committee supporting approval of the $500 million water bonds received $52,000 from January 1 to March 27.
Steve Schowengerdt becomes Mission's mayor on April 16.
Steve Schowengerdt edged out current Mission City Council President David Shepard in a close election Tuesday to replace outgoing Mayor Laura McConwell.
Schowengerdt, who served on the Mission City Council until four years ago, ran on a fiscal belt-tightening platform in contrast to Shepard, who was seen as closely aligned with McConwell's mayoral agenda.
Only 19 votes separated the mayoral candidates in an election where 1,705 votes were cast.
Rex Sinquefield figures to move pieces in the 2016 governor's race in Missouri.
Former Missouri House Speaker Catherine Hanaway said in February, when announcing that she would run for governor, that she would "build the largest and best grassroots campaign in Missouri history."
Such a meat-and-potatoes fundraising effort, she implied, would be necessary to outflank the well-heeled Democrat Chris Koster, who raised more than $1 million last year for his gubernatorial bid.
For Hanaway's part, it doesn't get any less grassroots than receiving big checks from St. Louis billionaire Rex Sinquefield.
The Missouri Ethics Commission's records show that Sinquefield, an avid advocate for eliminating individual income taxes, cut a $50,000 check to Hanaway's campaign on Tuesday. Hanaway on Tuesday also received a $100,000 check from the Missouri Club for Growth, a political action committee with ties to Sinquefield and Kansas City. The Missouri Club for Growth's chairwoman is Bev Randles, a former Shook Hardy & Bacon lawyer in Kansas City who is married to 2012 Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Randles (also once a Shook lawyer).
We got a tip from a well-placed Johnson County source today that Mission Mayor Laura McConwell has spent the last couple of days calling around, telling people she plans to run for a seat on the Johnson County Board of Commissioners.
McConwell says she hasn't quite committed to running for the commission.
"I'm exploring the race," McConwell told us around lunchtime from her Mission law office before jumping on another phone call.
McConwell hasn't filed yet, but if she does, she would seek the soon-to-be-vacant seat currently held by Ed Peterson. Peterson, a longtime Fairway mayor before representing northeast Johnson County on the commission, is challenging incumbent chairman Ed Eilert.