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Covering state lawmakers, bills, and policy emerging from Jefferson City.

Politically Speaking: Rep. Quade on what uncertainty over Greitens means for the legislature

On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Rep. Crystal Quade to the show for the first time.

The freshman legislator is the only Democrat to represent a House district in southern Missouri. She is a member of the powerful House Budget Committee, which makes big decisions about the state's financial future.

Quade was first elected to the Missouri House in 2016. She defeated Republican Thomas Quinn by a roughly 10 point margin, the lone bright spot in that election cycle for southwest Missouri Democrats. Quade noted on the show that her district is split relatively evenly between Republicans and Democrats, which is one of the reasons she’s placed an emphasis on working with GOP lawmakers.

Among other things, Quade took a prominent role last year in advocating to reverse budget cuts to in-home care services for the poor and elderly. A last-minute effort to restore the services ended up passing the legislature, but Greitens vetoed the measure.

With Greitens’ future in office in doubt,some elected officials and political observers are honing in on the policy differences between Greitens and Lt. Gov. Mike Parson. Parson becomes governor if Greitens steps down, and he advocated for a special session to reverse the in-home care cuts — and opposed Greitens’ bid to halt state low-income housing tax credits.

Here’s what Quade had to say during the show:

  • Greitens admitted last week to having an affair before he took office, but denied allegations he blackmailed the woman into not revealing the infidelity. Quade wrote aFacebook postsoon after news broke stating that blackmail allegations need to be investigated, but emphasized that the woman hasn’t come forward to tell her side of the story.
  • Quade isn’t sure whether Parson becoming governor would end up reversing the in-home health care cuts. “I think the thought right now is still panic in the thought that our current governor does not support restoring that,” she said. “It would be wonderful if our governor agreed that putting seniors and folks with disabilities as a priority is what we should be doing in Missouri. But as you said, Gov. Greitens is the governor and does not support that.”
  • Quade expects that Greitens’ proposed budget will be released to lawmakers on Monday. “What’s worrisome for someone like me that sits on budget is there’s a lot of unknowns,” she said, adding that there’s disagreement over how much revenue the state could lose because of the federal tax overhaul.
  • Since this is an election year, Quade doesn’t see much appetite from her colleagues to steer more money to roads, higher education or health care services for the poor. “For people to dig in and have a serious conversation about the budget crisis, about social services we provide, about higher ed and transportation – that’s going to take a lot of work,” she said.

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter:@jrosenbaum

Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter:@jmannies

Follow Crystal Quade on Twitter:@crystal_quade

Music: “We Used to Wait” by the Arcade Fire

Copyright 2018 St. Louis Public Radio