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

Conner Hazelrigg
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Three years ago, Conner Hazelrigg was a sophomore at William Jewell College, in Liberty, Missouri, when a friend came back from a trip to Haiti. The friend told Hazelrigg that everyone in the island nation—one of the world’s poorest countries—has a cell phone. They just don’t have any way to charge them. Electricity, she learned, was expensive and hard to find.

CAROLINA HIDALGO / ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

Governor Eric Greitens had a busy afternoon last Friday, June 30. He signed a major change to employment law, making it much harder for a fired employee to prove a discrimination case. He vetoed a bipartisan compromise that would have preserved a tax credit for low-income seniors and disabled people. And he signed the state budget—while also withholding more than $250 million in spending. Host Brian Ellison talks with KCUR's Kyle Palmer to catch you up on the political news of the weekend and give you an update on what might come next out of Missouri's Capitol.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

UPDATED Monday, 8 a.m.: More than 12,000 people remain without power Monday morning after storms this weekend damaged trees and power lines across the Kansas City metro area.

Kansas City Power & Light crews are continuing to repair power lines and restore power to customers. That work is slower with these storms than others, according to a Kansas City Power and Light official.

“There were a high number of individual outages so that’s why this restoration is taking a little bit longer than what we’ve seen in some other storms,” said Courtney Hughley, Kansas City Power and Light spokesperson. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

One Missouri lawmaker who won't be back for any special sessions this summer is Kansas City's Randy Dunn; the representative resigned last week to begin a new job in Omaha. Dunn was a triple minority in the Missouri General Assembly: A Democrat, a person of color and an openly gay man. He joined us for an exit interview to give us an unvarnished look at the way things work in Jefferson City.

Marleah Campbell / KCUR 89.3

Television has rapidly evolved since its humble, black-and-white beginnings. Today, we discuss how  TV has forever changed the American culture. Then, actress and activist Morgan Fairchild joins us to discuss her advocacy work and insights on current events and politics.

Catherine Wheeler / KCUR 89.3

At the end of the 2017 legislative session, we took the podcast on the road to ask an important question: are Kansas City's communities of color being heard in Jefferson City?  

This podcast was recorded live at the Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

 

Kansas City is the largest city in Missouri. But sometimes, it feels like its interests aren't at the forefront of the discussion in Jefferson City. Two former Missouri legislators turned Kansas City council members talk about how the city's priorities fared during the 2017 session and what's on their agenda for the future.  

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

The 2017 Missouri regular legislative session ended Friday with a lot of tension and a few results. On this week's episode, a team of reporters explore the session's most significant outcomes and biggest political stories. They ask what business went unfinished and predict what comes next.

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

The tragic death of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, and the visit of his teammates at his funeral in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, drew attention to the Caribbean nation. How did one small country come to have such an outsized connection to U.S. baseball?

Plus, you might believe in the apocalypse, but are you preparing for it? We hear from a few who are -- "preppers" with vastly different world views.

Guests:

Ten years ago this month, a massive tornado nearly wiped Greensburg, Kansas off the map. KCUR's Frank Morris joins us to share how the town's efforts to rebuild became "a laboratory experiment in re-engineering the classic American small town."

Plus, a conference last month brought thousands to Kansas City to talk about "white privilege." We discuss what our local communities are doing to address and respond to the concept. 

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

This year's legislative session has seen its fair share of political infighting and personal squabbles among legislators. Gov. Eric Greitens has tangled with more than one legislator, and a non-profit established to support his agenda even published a senator's personal cell phone number. Now that the budget is finally on its way to the governor's desk, and with just one week left in the session,the House Minority Floor Leader says she thinks it's time for a reset.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

As the Missouri General Assembly heads into the last two weeks of the 2017 legislative session, there’s a lot left on the agenda, and little of it is without controversy: a prescription drug monitoring program, REAL ID, abortion restrictions and final passage of the budget. In this episode, Sen. Caleb Rowden describes what many will see as this session's signature accomplishment--fully funding the foundation formula for K-12 education. He also suggests that it's okay for Republicans, who control most levers of power in the state, to disagree about how best to govern.

Wikimedia Commons

A Washington-based watchdog group has joined calls for an investigation into Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard over campaign contributions he received from a Joplin businessman.

Hudnall and Ellison
Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Did Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard sponsor a bill to help a Joplin business avoid a costly lawsuit in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations?

ktrimble / Creative Commons

Did Missouri Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard sponsor a bill to help a Joplin business avoid a costly lawsuit in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations?

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

As a House-approved $27.8 billion state budget heads to the Senate, we sit down with Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Ryan Silvey to talk about who wins and who loses in this proposal and the process for crafting a budget. Silvey also talks about his hopes for the REAL ID legislation he is sponsoring, and he weighs in on recent suggestions that his fellow Republican, Senate President Pro Tem Ron Richard, has engaged in pay-for-play by sponsoring a bill sought by a wealthy donor.

Mike Russo / KCUR 89.3

Rep. Mark Ellebracht, D-Liberty, and Rep. T.J. Berry, R-Kearney, joined Statehouse Blend Missouri for a live taping in a neighborhood that straddles their two districts. They talked about campaign finance reform, the prospect for Real ID legislation and a prescription drug monitoring program. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

For all the times that scientific research has improved our lives, there are other times when science got it horribly wrong. Today, Dr. Paul Offit describes the lessons we have learned, and should be learning, to separate good science from bad.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens met with President Trump last weekend. It was his fourth trip to Washington D.C. since his election. On KCUR's Statehouse Blend Missouri, we ask the question: Is the governor’s media strategy of relying on Facebook Live instead of press conferences positioning him for the national stage?

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

What has happened in the Missouri General Assembly this legislative session, what does it mean and what might happen before the end of session? Missouri political reporters Bryan Lowry and Jason Rosenbaum hash out the mid-session winners and losers in Jefferson City.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Chief of Police Darryl Forté announced Wednesday morning that he is retiring, effective May 20, 2017. The city's first African-American police chief, Forté made the announcement in a Twitter post.

Joelouis Mattox, one of Kansas City's most prolific and recognized historians, was found dead of natural causes Tuesday morning at his home, according to friends and colleagues. He was 79.

Mattox held the title of historian for many local agencies and organizations, including Kansas City's Historic Preservation Commission and the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center. He wrote and spoke frequently about Kansas City's history, as well as local and national African-American history.

Krista Nelson
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Health care providers who work with kids are natural innovators, says Krista Nelson, Children’s Mercy Hospital’s director of innovation development.

Nelson, an expert in innovation — not medicine, was hired by the hospital to run its new Center for Pediatric Innovation.

“In the children’s hospital or pediatric environment, we really deal with every size of child from a premature baby all the up to the captain of the football team at one of our big high schools,” says Nelson.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

A New Missouri Inc., a recently founded nonprofit with ties to Republican Gov. Eric Greitens, has Sen. John Rizzo, D-Kansas City, worried about financial transparency and wondering how Democrats can keep up. 

Jules / Flickr -- CC

Which came first? Well, on this show, it's the egg. An eggs-pert (sorry, had to) tells us why the shell and yolk color can vary — and whether it makes a difference in taste.

Plus, a visit to Niecie's Restaurant to find out more about their chicken and waffles, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best chicken dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has been traveling around the country conducting state business and freshman Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, wants to know who's paying for those trips. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

Syria, Iran, Sudan—Missouri’s State Treasurer Eric Schmitt doesn’t want any of your tax dollars going to these countries. He joins us this week to talk about his plan to keep investment dollars out of the hands of state sponsors of terror.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Rep. Mike Ceirpiot (R-Lee Summit) talks about school funding, Medicaid expansion, and his role as House Majority Leader.

On this week's Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) talks about a gambling proposal that could help a budget deficit in Missouri.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR 89.3

On this week's Statehouse Blend Missouri podcast, Sen. Denny Hoskins (R-Warrensburg) talks about his tense meeting with Gov. Eric Greitens and their subsequent reconciliation. 

Pages