Jason Kander

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

As the race for the U.S. Senate seat from Missouri is tightening, the candidates are taking on the bread-and-butter issues they hope will resonate with voters.

Secretary of State Jason Kander, who is challenging GOP incumbent Sen. Roy Blunt, on Wednesday met with a group of college students and university administrators about the high cost of college.

Kander told the group that he believes those costs – and resulting high student loan debt – is a middle-class issue that affects generations of families.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Talk of Missouri being in play as a presidential swing state this year is also being taken seriously with down-ticket state races.

FiveThirtyEight, the popular site of statistical stories, says polling showing Hillary Clinton within just two points of Donald Trump may make Missouri one of the states swinging from red to blue this year.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Every other Wednesday, the Rollin’ Grocer truck parts outside the Victoria Arms Building so residents can buy fresh food.

“Kansas City is the No. 6 city in the nation for food deserts,” says Natasha Ria El-Scari with Rollin’ Grocer. “Anywhere there’s more than one mile of walking distance or you have to catch more than two buses to get there is considered a food desert.”

There’s a Thriftway closer than that, but many of the people who live here are elderly or disabled. They’d have to cross 63rd Street in walkers or wheelchairs.

Last night's primary election was an exciting one on both sides of the state line. In Kansas, losses by several conservative Republicans caused a surprising swing to center. In Missouri, a bruising primary campaign for governor ended with Eric Greitens as the Republican nominee.

Guests:

Missouri:

Updated July 26 with new lawsuit filings – Opponents of a ballot initiative to raise Missouri's cigarette tax have filed two new lawsuits designed to stop it from appearing on the November ballot.

The first new suit was filed Friday by Joplin convenience store owner Patty Arrowood.  She contends that the ballot initiative would appropriate state funding, which only the legislature can do, and also allow religious groups to receive state revenues.

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon came to Kansas City Wednesday to sign legislation strengthening laws against human trafficking.

“We tend to think of human trafficking as something that happens in a distant, undeveloped country,” Nixon said. “But the tragic reality is, right here in the United States, human trafficking is a real and growing problem.”

Elle Moxley / KCUR 89.3

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, picked up an endorsement from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Monday.

“He values American energy exploration,” said U.S. Chamber National Policy Director Rob Engstrom. “He knows it’s the fastest way to create jobs in this country. He’s also not afraid to push back against the EPA and the other alphabet soup of government agencies.”

File photo

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander announced Thursday his candidacy for U.S. Senator in 2016. Kander made the announcement in a press release and in a video posted to his website

"For years, even with our economy suffering at home and our national security threatened abroad, too many politicians in both political parties have been more concerned with scoring political points than doing what's right for our country and its hurt all of us," he says in the video.

In the midst of his second term, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has continued to travel the state to promote his agenda for the state. He has heightened his profile even more in recent days, as he has blasted a tax-cut proposal that the General Assembly has landed on his desk.

But Nixon has effectively dropped one activity that used to take up a lot of his time: campaign fundraising.

Missouri Secretary of State's Office

Missouri Secretary of State, Jason Kander, released a proposal Tuesday to change Missouri's campaign finance regulations. But, it is a long-shot in the Republican-led legislature.

In the first part of Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Kander about his goals with the proposal and what the biggest problems are.

Guest:

  • Jason Kander, Missouri Secretary of State

Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander has unveiled a wide-ranging ethics proposal he wants lawmakers to take up and pass this year. It includes restoring campaign contribution limits, banning gifts from lobbyists to all state elected officials, and requiring a 3-year waiting period before ex-lawmakers can work as lobbyists.

Kander says if adopted, Missouri can go from having the worst ethics system in the country to the best.

Missouri Secretary of State's Office

The campaign money's flowing in Missouri. Or could you say "gushing?"

On Thursday June 27, Attorney General Chris Koster, an early favorite to become the next governor of Missouri, picked up $25,000 from a Kansas City law firm and $12,500 more from an eastern Missouri labor union.

The day before, state Auditor Tom Schweich picked up $10,000 from a St. Louis area business owner.

A group of educators is suing the state of Missouri over a proposed constitutional amendment requiring tenure for public school teachers be based on performance, not seniority.

With the new year comes a new session for Missouri lawmakers in Jefferson City.

jasonkander.com

He defied Steve Kraske's predictions and won the race for Missouri Secretary of State. Now Jason Kander is thinking about the work ahead.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Despite Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney getting a decisive win in Missouri, Democratic candidates fared well in statewide races.