Travis Brown, a lobbyist for many in and around the Missouri Capitol, produced a neat service awhile ago that sends out Tweets whenever there's a donation over $5,000 logged into the Missouri Ethics Commission.
One Tweet that caught my attention was a $25,000 from the Supporters of Health Research & Treatments to House Majority Leader Steve Tilley's campaign committee. The Perryville Republican will likely become House Speaker if the GOP maintains a majority in the Missouri House.
That committee is notable because it's typically been a way for supporters of embryonic stem cell research to donate to the political process. The stem cell issue has been a thorny one for Missouri Republicans, prompting a split between those who support embryonic stem cell research and those who oppose it on religious or moral grounds. Socially conservative Democrats have also bucked their party on the issue as well.
Before I talking to Tilley about other topics yesterday, I asked him about the donation. He said he was a "moderate Republican" who supported a constitutional amendment prohibiting the state from restricting any kind of stem cell research allowed by federal law.
"I don't mind that," Tilley said. "I think ethical research is good. I came to the conclusion that I support stem cell because I have two daughters. And I'll be honest with you. If one of them was sick and I think stem cells provided an opportunity - just a chance - to save them, I'd do it in a heartbeat. And beyond that, I think if you had a stem cell cure for cancer, I guarantee that people who are against stem cells would be happy to take the cure."
Tilley said that the "knock" on him when he was running for leadership in the House was that he was viewed as moderate on social issues.
"On social issues I'm certainly more of a moderate," Tilley said. "I think the Republican Party should be for smaller government. But you can't say you want government out of your lives and out of your business, but then preach to people how you should live."
Rep. Mike Talboy, D-Kansas City, will likely become Speaker of the House if the Democrats take over during next year's election cycle.