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

Gina Mitten
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri's last impeachment proceeding was in 1994, and it's never happened with a governor. That could change this year as a House committee begins an investigation of Gov. Eric Greitens following his indictment on a felony invasion of privacy charge. Host Brian Ellison talks with a member of that committee, Rep. Gina Mitten of St. Louis.

Segment 1: A new group wants to make theater accessible to everyone.

What if you could see a play for free in a non-traditional venue? Well, now you can. The Kansas City Public Theatre kicks off its first season this fall, but it's already staging some monthly readings at a local bar. We talk with its executive artistic director and a playwright, whose work will be performed on Monday.

Segment 1: Why barber shops are more than a place to your haircut. 

An author with Kansas City roots reminisces about the unique relationship between African-American boys and barber shops in Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut.

Corlew
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

In these politically divided times, one topic with bipartisan agreement in this year's Missouri legislative session is the need for investing more in transportation and infrastructure. But debate persists on how much investment, and where the money should come from.

Corlew and Razer
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

On Thursday, a St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on a felony charge of invasion of privacy. The Republican is accused of taking a nude photograph of a woman—with whom he has acknowledged having an affair—without her consent and transmitting it in a way it could be accessed by computer.  Two lawmakers, one Republican and one Democrat, tell us why Greitens will have difficulty governing now and why they think he should resign.

Guests:

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department

A St. Louis grand jury indicted Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens on Thursday for felony invasion of privacy, possibly jeopardizing his tenure in office as legislative leaders said they'd begin an investigation. Impeachment talk began to circle the Statehouse.

Ron Waddington/Flickr CC

As the nation watches a burgeoning children’s movement for gun control spring from Florida after last week’s mass killing, the odds of Kansas and Missouri rewriting their rules for firearms this year look slim.

Few parts of the country welcome guns, carried openly or tucked out of sight, as much as Kansas and Missouri.

Flipped

Feb 12, 2018

This week on Statehouse Blend Missouri, we meet the eastern Missouri district that supported Donald Trump with 61% of the vote in 2016, but in a special election last week elected a Democrat to the Missouri House for the first time since 2008. We also meet the Democrat they elected, Rep.-Elect Mike Revis, a 27-year-old first-time candidate from Fenton, Mo. And we talk with political science professor Patrick Miller about how much we should read into special election results like these.

georgesaundersbooks.com

A recent high-profile deportation case in Lawrence has spurred local discussions about immigration law. Today, attorney Jonathan Willmoth explains why many immigrants to America overstay their visas, and what options those individuals have.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

A statue at Fort Leavenworth pays tribute to the Buffalo Soldiers, the all African-American calvary formed after the Civil War. Today, John Bruce and George Pettigrew of the Buffalo Soldiers Alexander/Madison Chapter of Greater Kansas City explain the origins and accomplishments of these soldiers, who served with distinction until the last Buffalo Soldier units were disbanded in 1951.

Public Domain / Pixabay-CC

Perfectionism, bullying, depression and social media are a few of the stressors teens constantly face in today's society. As the number of teen suicides in Kansas City reach record levels, we speak with school councilors and health experts to learn why rates are climbing in the metro and how to help prevent suicides.

But first, a discussion on undeveloped land in suburban areas. What happens when the desire to turn unused land into roads and schools collides with the desire to keep things natural?

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Where do you go job-wise when your previous position was press secretary to the president of the United States? Today, we ask someone who knows, Kansas City native and former Obama staffer Josh Earnest. Then, activist organizations pushing to improve conditions for low-wage workers face a unique challenge: Getting folks who can ill-afford time off to show up for a protest. We'll find out how groups like Stand Up KC are overcoming that hurdle.

Barbara Washington
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Last November, Rep. Barbara Anne Washington became the newest legislator to represent Kansas City in the Missouri General Assembly. An attorney and former journalist, she has long been engaged with politics, but nothing could have prepared her for the onslaught of legislating, which she says is a full-time job, not to mention the political turmoil of her first month in office.

Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio


“As Missouri goes, so goes the nation” — or so the saying goes. Yet, the state hasn’t lived up to its bellwether status for a long time, at least when it comes to predicting presidential elections: Missouri has chosen a Republican in every one since 2000, even though the national popular vote favored Democrats four out of five times.

Palmer and Silvey
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Just days into the 2018 legislative session, after 13 years of service in the General Assembly, Kansas City Republican Senator Ryan Silvey was out of the statehouse and beginning a six-year term on the Missouri Public Service Commission. Silvey had frequently clashed with Governor Eric Greitens, and in this Statehouse Blend Missouri "exit interview," Silvey acknowledges that the governor may have nominated him partly to eliminate a "thorn in the side." 

Matthew Long-Middleton / KCUR 89.3

Travel bans and the promise to build a wall are among burgeoning changes in the United State's stance on immigrants. Now, a year after President Trump's inauguration, we sit down with refugees and immigrants in Kansas City to hear their current experiences and feelings in their new home.

But first, we meet the resident artist of Oak Park Mall who creates colorful sculptures out of cardboard.

Guests: 

KC Fed
Charvex

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, part of the nation's central banking system, is perhaps best known as a key provider of agricultural economic data. Its president helps set national interest rates. It works with banks.

But the bank also promotes economic growth in its seven-state region. Dell Gines, who heads up the Fed's small business work with rural communities and urban neighborhoods from its Omaha office, calls it the work of a "wholesaler."

Capitol at night
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Missouri government is still reeling after a week that saw the State of the State address overshadowed by a report by KMOV in St. Louis that Governor Eric Greitens, a Republican, had an affair with an unnamed woman, as revealed in tapes secretly recorded by the woman's former husband. The governor has admitted the affair but denies allegations he attempted to blackmail the woman to keep it quiet.

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:

Pages