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

File/Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

The fallout over Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens’ admitted affair and allegations of blackmail was swift, with the local prosecutor heeding Thursday's calls from Republicans and Democrats for an investigation, and some Democrats suggesting the governor should resign.

Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

It's a Republican season in the Missouri General Assembly. The GOP controls the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, and Republican Governor Eric Greitens is working hard to advance a conservative agenda. But Democrats press on, seeking to influence legislation where they can and, sometimes, taking their case directly to the people.

Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

The Missouri Board of Education is currently in the middle of a political kerfuffle — so, how will area students and teachers be affected? Today, we break down the responsibilities of the Missouri Board of Education and explain their relationship with the schooling system. 

Then, we learn about the formation of the foster care system in America and its history throughout the past century.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The challenges of life in poverty are diverse, and can be hard to grasp for people who haven't lived it themselves. Today, we learn how future health care professionals are using poverty simulations to get a new perspective on what their poorest patients face daily.

KCPT

It may seem like obtaining photo identification is an easy thing, but a lot of obstacles can stand in the way. Today, we discuss how getting a photo ID can be a high hurdle for a lot of folks, and how not having one can hold people back in ways big and small. Then, a major change to adoption law in Missouri just took effect.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The New Year is a natural time for people to reflect on years past, and look for ways to improve their lots going forward. Today, we do too. First, we discuss the dilemmas American history educators face when teaching inclusive lessons about such a diverse country. After that, a hard look at resolutions. We get expert advice from some very motivated people, including Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's personal trainer. They share tips about making resolutions you can keep, and keeping the resolutions that you make.

Missouri News Horizon / Flickr--CC

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has nominated one of his most vocal Republican critics to a powerful state board, just ahead of the start to the 2018 legislative session. 

On Tuesday, Greitens tapped Sen. Ryan Silvey, a Republican representing Kansas City's Northland, to serve on the state Public Service Commission. The body regulates utilities in the state. Among other duties, the panel sets utility rates. 

Michael Vadon / Flickr - CC

From ushering Donald Trump into the White House to NFL players taking a knee to a mass shooting at a Baptist church in Texas, much of the major news of the past year involved religion.

Statehouse Blend
Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

The year 2017 saw the transformation of a relatively unknown outsider into a globe-trotting governor who might just be the most interesting man in Missouri. Division abounded in Jefferson City; sometimes even among the various Republicans who dominate the House, Senate and governor's mansion. But the raft of news laws have made Missouri a different place—whether for better or worse depends on one's perspective.

Meanwhile, 2018 promises to be no less fascinating, with likely debates tax reform and education, budget cuts and transportation ... and, oh yes, a looming election.

Pexels / Pixabay-CC

Why is school funding a constant debate in the Sunflower State? Today, we look at how the Kansas Constitution defines the government's responsibility concerning education. Then, we review the greatest podcasts of 2017 — just in time for emergency holiday downloading.

Guests:

File Photo / KCUR 89.3

This story was updated at 1:00 p.m.

Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, has joined with a chorus of colleagues—including the majority of women in the Senate—in calling on their fellow Democrat, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, to resign following multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers / Flickr-CC

Three months have passed since a series of hurricanes rocked the Caribbean and the U.S. mainland. But are things improving? Today, Kansas Citians with loved ones affected by this year's bout of natural disasters give us an update on how recovery efforts are progressing. Then, we meet KC's honorary consuls: local residents with the official task of representing nations from across the globe.

Guests:

Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

Over the past decade, few issues have occupied as prominent and contentious a spot on the national stage—and in Missouri—as health care. It's not just about politics: Debates in the General Assembly, actions by past and present governors and oversight by state agencies all result in real impact on people's lives.

Teeman
Courtesy of Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

On Thursday, Raytown resident Eric Teeman was best known as a former alderman best known for trying to get Walmart declared a public nuisance.

A day later, Teeman found himself on the Missouri Board of Education, casting the deciding vote that ousted state education commissioner Margie Vandeven.

mliu92 / Flickr - CC

Tummy troubles, belly burdens, gastrointestinal grievances — call them what you will, but no one likes having a stomachache. That goes double for children. Today, Drs. Natasha Burgert and Craig Friesen help us figure out when a soothing word is just what's needed to settle your youngster's upset stomach, or when it might be a harbinger of something more severe.

A handgun and six bullets on a desk.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney's Office / Wikimedia Commons

Drag is big these days in pop culture, but the cross-dressing tradition goes back further than most people realize. Today, we trace its roots on the American frontier. Then, we take a close look with sociologist and researcher Jonathan Metzl at claims that gun violence in America is primarily a mental health issue, and not one related to the easy availability of firearms.

Atl10trader / Flickr-CC

A good Thanksgiving Day meal requires consideration, preparation and even preservation. Today, we hear food safety advice to help keep uneaten leftovers fresh and to learn warning signs of spoiled items. Then, a local congregation shares why they've made the decision to remove the phrase 'Country Club' from their name and learn about the history of the district the church was originally named after.

Guests:

Shamley Productions

The Kansas International Film Festival begins this weekend.  Today, Up To Date's Film Critics talk with the filmmaker behind one festival entry, The Weight of Honor, that looks at the impact on families when wives and mothers of soldiers become caretakers for their catastrophically injured husbands and sons.  Then the critics review the best (and worst) indie, foreign and documentary movies now showing on area screens, including Jane, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Blade of the Immortal

Russell Watkins / Flickr - CC

Even though the winds and rain have subsided, the carnage wrought by Hurricanes Maria and Irma have left parts of the Caribbean without power and everyday necessities. Today, we find out how recovery efforts in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are progressing from two Kansas City relief workers who saw the devastation firsthand. Then, learn interesting facts, folk-wisdom, and oddities of the Show-Me State, via a brand new Missouri Almanac.

Candidate Forum
Chris Young / KCUR 89.3

There are only a few legislative races this November, but one of the most dynamic—and expensive—is taking place in eastern Jackson County. The Majority Floor Leader of the Missouri House Mike Cierpiot was considered a likely choice to succeed fellow Republican Will Kraus, who resigned to take a state job. Democrats recruited a strong challenger in Hillary Shields, a co-founder of the Indivisible KC political organizing group.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

After spending 23 years incarcerated for a crime he didn't commit, Lamonte McIntyre has spent the last week getting used to being a free man. Today, we ask McIntyre, his mother Rosie McIntyre, and one of his attorneys, Cheryl Pilate, about the crime he was wrongly convicted of, the court fight that finally liberated him, and how he moved through the anger and frustration he initially developed behind bars.

Gary White
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

In a world where 884 million people don’t have access to water and 2.2 billion people don’t have sanitary toilet facilities, ending the global water crisis seems like a lofty goal.

But Gary White—whose nonprofit organizations have so far reached 7 million people—believes providing access to safe water and sanitation for all people can be achieved in his lifetime.

Planned Parenthood clinic
File Photo / KCUR 89.3

Just two weeks before new regulations on Missouri abortion providers would take effect, the state’s Planned Parenthood affiliates are challenging the provisions in state court.

Cory Weaver / Kansas City Repertory Theater

The musical Between the Lines, based off a bestselling novel by Jodi Picoult and her daughter, just made its world premiere at the KC Rep. It was a huge hit, but will it make it to Broadway? We discuss what it takes to get there with a local artistic director, a national producer and a Broadway performer.

David Johnson and Pat Duff
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The effort to extend the Kansas City streetcar line scored a victory Saturday as voters elected a slate endorsed by expansion advocates to a new board of directors.

According to unofficial results, some 2,636 out of about 35,000 potential voters cast ballots Saturday, choosing among 19 candidates for the board of the Main Street Rail Transportation Development District (TDD), which was formed in a special mail-in election this summer.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Not only is David Litt one of the youngest presidential speechwriters ever, but he also has the distinct (dis)honor of deplaning Air Force One in his pajamas. Today, Litt shares stories about his time writing jokes — and some serious stuff, too — for President Barack Obama.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

There's an important election happening in Kansas City this weekend that will directly affect the future of southern streetcar extension. If you didn't know about it until now, you're probably not alone. 

It's the second step in a complicated, three-election process that must be completed before any work on expansion can begin. 

CFI

If you’re planning a movie night but find yourself underwhelmed by plastic blocks or cannibal clowns, take heart! There are other cinematic options this fall: A man flees Leningrad and the Soviet secret police, a doctor wrestles with guilt and mystery, and more.

Webber
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

The Missouri Democratic Party announced an ambitious set of health care proposals Tuesday, including expansion of Medicaid and policy changes focused on veterans, women’s health and opioid abuse.

Republicans control the House, Senate and Governor’s office in Missouri, making it unlikely the proposals will be adopted. But Stephen Webber, the party chair, said Democrats still want to present a “positive proactive vision.”

Bobnjeff / Flickr - CC

Despite passing away 25 years ago, Marjorie Powell Allen's life works continue to impact the Kansas City region. Today, we recall the businesswoman, educator and philanthropist, chronicled in a new biography. Then, we speak with two-time Grammy winner and Leavenworth native Melissa Etheridge, and learn how and why she continues to advocate for the environment and the LGBTQ community.  

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