Brian Ellison | KCUR

Brian Ellison

Host/Contributor

Brian Ellison is host of the podcast Statehouse Blend Missouri and regular substitute host of Central Standard and Up to Date. He also contributes to KCUR news coverage, including political reporting, anchoring election night broadcasts and conducting interviews for the "Innovation KC" series. He has served in a variety of roles at KCUR since 2008, including as a producer of Up To Date and The Walt Bodine Show.

An ordained Presbyterian minister, Brian served as pastor of Parkville Presbyterian Church for 13 years and now is executive director of the Covenant Network of Presbyterians. A graduate of Harvard University and Princeton Theological Seminary, he is also a freelance writer and an adjunct instructor in preaching at Saint Paul School of Theology.

Ways to Connect

Kevin Corlew, Lauren Arthur

Democrats have taken a Missouri Senate seat previously held by Republicans in the first electoral test since the resignation of GOP Gov. Eric Greitens last week. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

 

What caused Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to resign now and reactions from area Republicans and Democrats

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Updated May 30, 2018 — Missouri Republican Gov. Eric Greitens has resigned after coming under intense scrutiny over allegations of breaking campaign finance rules and participating in sexually coercive behavior and blackmail.

Lubos Houska / Pixabay - CC

Segment 1: Implicit bias, white allyship and the Starbucks arrests.

Segment 1: How to grill sausages and burgers.

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and many Kansas Citians will be pulling out the grill for backyard cookouts. The owner of a butcher shop/restaurant shares his tips on the best way to cook sausages and burgers on the grill. Plus, a local chef on how he went from cooking in fine dining restaurants to opening a fried chicken joint.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House committee investigating Gov. Eric Greitens is undertaking an unusual spectacle this week: reading hour upon hour of legal proceedings out loud, together.

Richardson
Tim Bommel / Missouri House Communications

As the 2018 legislative session careened to an end, we took stock of what legislation passed, what didn't pass, and what was allowed to quietly pass away. It turns out that with all eyes on the accusations against Gov. Eric Greitens, his fellow Republicans were fairly successful at advancing a legislative agenda.

Host Brian Ellison calls on KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger to help recap the session, and Sen. Jason Holsman, a Kansas City Democrat, talks about what went wrong for his party.

New And Noteworthy Podcasts Of 2018

May 21, 2018

What gets you interested in history? For some people, it's the pomp of a royal wedding that gets them digging into the annals of British aristrocracy. Today, we discuss the royal wedding and find out why one history podcast is paying close attention to it. We'll also check out other new and noteworthy podcasts that came out this year.

Guests:

Jo Mannies / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Missouri’s 2018 General Assembly session will likely be remembered most for the legal and ethical travails of Gov. Eric Greitens. But the Republican-dominated legislature managed to approve numerous policy initiatives — the impact of which may last longer than Greitens’ tenure.

David Wayne Reed

May 18, 2018
Paul Andrews / www.paulandrewsphotography.com

He's an actor, writer, storyteller ... and now, filmmaker. While growing up on his family's farm in Louisburg, Kansas, David Wayne Reed used to dress in drag and perform shows for the hay crew and visiting seed salesmen. He became a founding member of KC's Late Night Theatre. And in his new film, he returns to his farm roots.

Segment 1: From Abilene to KC: The history of Sprint.

It's a multi-billion dollar company with thousands of local employees. But did you know that Sprint got its start in Abilene, Kansas? Over a century ago, a farmer-turned-businessman started stringing lines through town and bought up local independent telephone companies. Hear how the company grew from there.

Arthur and Corlew
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Reps. Lauren Arthur and Kevin Corlew are fighting over an exceedingly rare prize in Missouri politics: an open Senate seat in a district that doesn't have a clear partisan leaning. Whether voters choose the Democratic Arthur or the Republican Corlew in a June 5 special election could speak volumes about the mood of the electorate at a turbulent time.

Bill Shapiro sits in a chair, surrounded by CDs, books, and audio equipment.
Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Understanding who's who in the upcoming trial of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

Missouri Governor Eric Greitens will stand trial on Monday for a felony charge of invasion of privacy. In the courtroom overseen by Judge Rex Burlison will be more than just prosecutor Kim Gardner and defense lawyer Edward Dowd.  Each will lead a team of powerhouse attorneys so there are a lot of names in the lineup. To help us make sense of them all, we ran down the rosters with two reporters familiar with the players involved.  

DanaWelsch / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: What is tax increment financing, and what are its drawbacks?

Tax increment financing districts, known as TIFs, have been a significant tool in Kansas City's development. But could they hurt communities as much as they helps them? In this first of a two-part series on the effects of TIFs, we took a look at opposition to the measures.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: Local 15-year-old creates a space for teens and young adults to embrace their love of books.

Book festivals for adults are a dime a dozen. Now, a teenager from Prairie Village is looking to give young readers a chance to geek out over their favorite past-time, too. We met the organizer, and spoke with two writers who are taking part this weekend in the first ever LitUp Festival.

Greitens
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

Another week, another raft of bad news for Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens. A new report details his use of a charity donor list for campaign fund-raising and the possibility he lied about it to the state ethics commission. We get up to speed with Bryan Lowry of the Kansas City Star. And even as legislators call a special session to consider impeachment, they march on with the state budget and other bills unrelated to gubernatorial scandals. House Democratic Caucus Secretary Rep.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens allegedly directed a staffer to obtain a donor list from the veterans charity he founded and lied about it to the state ethics commission, according to a special House committee report released Wednesday.

Immediately, Democrats and some Republicans again called for Greitens, who faces two felony charges, to step down. Greitens' camp dug in with legal counsel Catherine Hanaway's statement that said the report "does a tremendous disservice to the U.S. and Missouri Constitutions." 

McCaskill-Hawley
File Photo and Office of the Attorney General

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley seems headed for the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill this fall. But Hawley's path has been made rougher by his complicated relationship with Gov. Eric Greitens—fellow Republican, fellow first-time-officeholder—and subject of his investigations. In this episode, host Brian Ellison takes an early look at the 2018 race. He talks with KCUR's Erica Hunzinger about Hawley's history and present entanglement with the governor.

Statehouse Blend Missouri crowd
Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

As students rally nationwide for more gun regulation, Missouri legislators are considering — and advancing — several bills to make firearms more legal, for more people, in more places. What underlies the enduring, and seemingly intractable, divide on gun laws in Missouri?

Host Brian Ellison welcomed Rep. T.J. Berry, a Kearney Republican, and Rep. Jon Carpenter, a Gladstone Democrat, and an audience of 75 for a live taping of the podcast April 19 in Kansas City.

File photo by Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

This post was updated at 7:50 p.m. Tuesday to include Greitens' latest statement. 

Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley announced Tuesday that his office has evidence that Gov. Eric Greitens may have committed a felony in obtaining and using a donor list from the nonprofit he founded.

By the end of the night, several top Republican state legislators were calling for Greitens to step down, something the governor tweeted that he would not do.

Some Missouri lawmakers are questioning the political future of Republican Gov. Eric Greitens after a report from a state House committee. The report details unwanted, sometimes aggressive, sexual encounters between Greitens and his hairdresser. KCUR’s Brian Ellison spoke with House Minority Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty, a Democrat, and Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew, both from Kansas City.

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On Wednesday, a Missouri House committee released an explosive report about an affair Gov. Eric Greitens has admitted having with his former hairdresser in 2015. Many lawmakers have called the details of that report "disturbing" and Greitens’ future as governor may be in jeopardy.  

In this episode, host Brian Ellison and KCUR editor Erica Hunzinger unpack the report's details. We also hear from two lawmakers, Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew and House Democratic Floor Leader Gail McCann Beatty, who both think it's time for Greitens to go.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

This story has been updated with additional information.

A Missouri House committee report on Gov. Eric Greitens contains graphic details about the affair between the governor and his former hair stylist, including an unwanted sexual encounter and a threat of blackmail.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

In some states, abortion is on the agenda just about every year. Missouri is one of those states, and it is one where efforts to regulate or restrict abortion are often successful. Last week, the House passed a bill banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Host Brian Ellison talks with the bill's sponsor, Rep. Donna Lichtenegger, and KCUR's health editor, Dan Margolies, to put the legislation in the broader context of Missouri abortion law and the numerous court challenges it continues to face.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri House has approved its budget for the 2018 fiscal year, and the ball is now in the Senate's court. It's no small thing getting all the numbers to add up to pay for transportation, K-12 and higher education, social services ... and everything else. But how does that work, especially when lawmakers don't share the vision of the governor, whose proposal is their starting place and who ultimately has to implement whatever priorities they set? Host Brian Ellison talks about the process and the results so far with Traci Gleason of the Missouri Budget Project and Rep.

Whether you live in Missouri or in Kansas, when you head to the polls you often have to decide between two parties: either Democratic or Republican. But sometimes, there's another option. Today, we explore the concept of third parties and discuss why some candidates run as independents. Also, we compare our local political scene with the rest of the country.

Guests

McCaskill
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Before a small but energetic crowd in Kansas City Wednesday afternoon, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill walked a narrow path between opposition to President Trump’s views and caution not to offend his supporters — many of whose votes she will need to be re-elected this November.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio file photo

As the Missouri General Assembly takes a spring break, we take a look at the term so far and what's left to be done. But like everyone else, we have a hard time talking about anything but the indictment and investigations of Governor Eric Greitens. Joining host Brian Ellison with analysis and predictions are KCUR's Erica Hunzinger, the Kansas City Star's Bryan Lowry and Missourinet's Alisa Nelson.

Elijah Haahr
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Ever since Congress passed major changes to U.S. tax policy, Missouri leaders have been mulling their own changes to the state tax code that might leave your tax bill looking very different next year. We talk with House Speaker Pro Tem Elijah Haahr, a Republican representative from Springfield, about how his 429-page plan can call itself "revenue-neutral."

Lorie Shaull / Wikimedia Commons

Student activists have taken the lead on conversations about gun control after last month's school shooting in Parkland, Florida. Their calls to action have spurred youth demonstrations across the country, including here in Kansas City. How are teenagers organizing so effectively, and what should parents know about their own kids' interest in social activism? Today, we get answers from family psychologist Wes Crenshaw, and three area high school students.

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