The Buzz

The facts, faces and hum of local politics with Steve Kraske and Dave Helling

BuzzChatter Thursday: The most popular lawmaker in the General Assembly?

04/30/2014 4:02 PM

04/30/2014 4:02 PM

Good morning.

• “My vote’s very much in play.” — Missouri state Rep. Jeff Roorda, a Barnhart Democrat, on how he’s struggling to decide whether to back a big tax cut in the state. (link courtesy of

Roorda told Missourinet that he’s still looking for more information on the measure, and he’s being courted by both sides. His vote could be crucial. This year, he was the only Democrat to back the cut, and the anticipated vote to override an expected Gov. Jay Nixon veto could hinge on one or two lawmakers. “I’d like to not be in this situation,” said Roorda. “I feel a bit in the spotlight, and I certainly didn’t seek the spotlight in this case.”

• “I, and others who voted against it, did so because we knew it would restrict people’s rights to participate in the political process.” — Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts explaining Wednesday why he opposed the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law.

Roberts, a Republican, called the 2002 law an abject failure, and he is right to an extent. Recent court rulings have struck down much of the intent of McCain-Feingold, which was aimed at regulating campaign spending. Roberts said in a speech to a Senate committee that citizens have nothing to fear by protecting free speech. Still, one big concern going forward is what if most of the free speech citizens are exposed to comes from wealthy Americans whose names are never disclosed?

• “Democrats seem to be harder to motivate in non-presidential years.” — CNN Polling Director Keating Holland

on a new poll

showing that Republicans have an enthusiasm edge over Democrats.

That’s the issue for the Democrats — excitement. Democrats don’t have much of it. Republicans, meanwhile, are eager to regain control of the U.S. Senate. Ask voters which party they’d like to see in charge of Congress, and they split 45 percent for the Republicans and 45 percent for the Democrats. But — and this is a big “but” — ask the same questions of voters who are interested in the outcome of the November elections, and the GOP holds a 15-point lead.

• “Instead of lifting millions of Americans out of poverty and boosting the economy, my Republican colleagues have chosen to sit on the sidelines.” — Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, on the decision of Senate Republicans to block a vote on legislation that would have increased the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour.

The minimum wage to Republicans is what the Keystone XL Pipeline is for the Democrats — an issue that cuts against them. Expect Democrats to bang hard on this issue throughout the year. They can go on the offensive on the minimum wage, and the Democratic Party doesn’t have many issues like it this year.


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