Claire McCaskill

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Claire McCaskill

Claire McCaskill is a Democratic member of the United States Senate, representing Missouri.


Claire McCaskill's first home was Houston, Missouri, where her father William worked at the McCaskill feed mill. Later, the family moved to Lebanon, the hometown of Claire's mother, Betty Anne, where Betty Anne’s family ran the corner drugstore in town.

After another move, she attended Hickman High School in Columbia, while her father served as a state insurance commissioner, and her mother became Columbia's first woman city council member. At Hickman High School, Claire graduated near the top of her class and was very involved in student activities. Since she had already sewn many of her own clothes, Claire took an after-school job working in a fabric store.

The day after graduating from high school, Claire left town for a job busing tables at Lodge of the Four Seasons at Lake of the Ozarks to earn money for college. Waitressing for six years helped Claire work her way through college and law school at the University of Missouri - Columbia.

Following her first marriage, McCaskill spent seven years as a single mom before marrying Joseph Shepard, a St. Louis businessman, in April 2002. [1]

State and Local Government

After graduating law school, McCaskill clerked for the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City, and then got a job as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City, where she was a felony trial prosecutor handling sex crimes, homicides and specializing in arson cases.

In 1982, McCaskill won a seat in the Missouri State Legislature. She juggled the responsibilities of both mother and legislator and was the first woman to ever give birth while an active member of the Missouri State Legislature. As the only woman attorney in the Missouri General Assembly, she chaired the Civil and Criminal Justice Committee and passed numerous laws that impacted the justice system.

McCaskill broke new ground again in 1993 when she became the first female prosecutor for Jackson County, which included Kansas City. As head of the largest prosecutor's office in the state, she established many new programs, including a domestic violence unit and one of the nation's first Drug Courts. She held this position until she was sworn in as Missouri Auditor in 1999.

As Auditor, Claire brought an innovative approach to the office by adding performance audits to the traditional financial audits. During her years as auditor, Claire conducted performance audits on state programs, including child support enforcement and the Social Services Foster Care Program, Missouri's Child Abuse Hotline, child care facilities inspections and licensing, nursing homes, and animal care facilities (puppy mills). She also reviewed the state’s Sunshine Law, domestic violence shelters, student loans and college tuition rates in Missouri, and funding and accountability in public schools.

In 2004, McCaskill took on her own party establishment and became the first person to ever defeat a sitting Missouri governor in a primary election.[2]

U.S. Senate

In November 2006, McCaskill became the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Missouri, vowing to bring Harry Truman's no-nonsense style of accountability back to Washington, D.C. It only seemed fitting that her place in the Senate chamber is a desk shared by none other than Sen. Truman himself. She was named as one of the select senators to sit on the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, formerly known as the Truman Committee. In fact, one of Claire’s first major bills to pass in the Senate established a modern day Truman Committee called the Wartime Contracting Commission, charged with investigating wasteful, fraudulent and abusive contracts in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In addition to working to establish a committee to examine wartime contracting, in 2009 Claire was named chairman of a new subcommittee that investigates contracting abuses throughout the federal government. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight strives to root out government waste by focusing on contracts and the means by which the federal government provides accountability to those contracts.

McCaskill currently sits on four Senate Committees, including Armed Services, Commerce, HSGAC and Aging. From those committees, she’s taken on: accountability and transparency, earmark reform, increased independence for Inspector Generals (IG) that act as federal auditors, credit card regulations, security improvements to foreign repair stations that service our domestic aircraft, reforms to the reverse mortgage industry, consumer protections, and full benefits and resources for our brave veterans and wounded active service members.[3]

EMILY's List

McCaskill has been supported by EMILY's List during her campaigning.

Obama supporter

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, an early and avid Obama supporter, said , “It would be great if we could get this done before June 3.” She said she was sensitive to Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon’s position of not endorsing a candidate yet, because he is in the race for governor.[4]


September 18, 2018 Casey Introduces Bill to Expand Social Security Benefits

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging,introducedthe Surviving Widow(er) Income Fair Treatment (SWIFT) Act (S. 3457). To help Americans achieve financial security in retirement, the SWIFT Act would fix outdated and arbitrary restrictions that prevent many Social Security recipients, particularly women, from maximizing their benefits. The bill would also enhance outreach and education about when and how to claim Social Security. If the bill were in effect today, it would increase Social Security income for more than 1 million Americans.

Senators Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Patty Murray (D-WA) are co-sponsors of the bill. The bill is also endorsed by AFGE, AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for Retired Americans, the Arc of the United States, Justice in Aging, National Association of Disability Representatives, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Organization for Women, National Organization of Soc'al Security Claimants Representatives, Social Security Works, Strengthen Social Security Coalition and Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement.[5]

ARA lobbying

While Congress was home for recess July 2010, Alliance for Retired Americans members across the country met this week with members of Congress and staff including: Reps. Brad Miller in North Carolina; Sen. Claire McCaskill and Reps. Russ Carnahan, Emanuel Cleaver, and William Lacy Clay in Missouri; Reps. John Boccieri, Mary Jo Kilroy and Steve Driehaus in Ohio; Rep. Patrick J. Murphy in Pennsylvania; Reps. Gabrielle Giffords and Harry Mitchell in Arizona; Sen. Jeff Bingaman and Rep. Martin Heinrich in New Mexico; and Reps. John Spratt, Jr. and Jim Clyburn in South Carolina.[6]

NAIS opponent

April 20, 2009 Controversy continues to swirl around the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), a USDA/APHIS-controlled registry for livestock and land where they are kept.

The program, initiated in 2003, was developed as a way to quickly track and eradicate outbreaks of animal disease. By having rapid disease “traceability” in place, NAIS proponents — which includes veterinary associations — claim millions of animals and billions of dollars can be saved when disease arises.

While NAIS has been voluntary, sign-ups haven’t been overwhelming. Politicians and government officials are now considering making the program mandatory. This has unleashed a torrent of criticism with privacy issues and the cost to small producers taking center stage.

During a mid-March hearing on NAIS, APHIS officials told the House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry that the poultry and sheep industries have the best participation in the program. Cattle signups, however, lag.

A day after the subcommittee hearing, Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri — following up on promises made to rural constituents during her last campaign — penned a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “Since 2002, USDA has been attempting to develop the NAIS program. (USDA) has spent over $130 million since 2004. Yet, according to GAO reports, the agency has been unable to produce a workable plan. … As the number two calf-cow state in the nation, Missouri cannot afford for USDA to go forward with an unproven program.[7]

National Animal Identification System protest

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack last Friday (Feb. 5, 2010) announced the cancellation of the National Animal Identification System (NAIS) due to producer and consumer concerns. His agency instead will offer a new approach to animal disease traceability with changes that respond directly to the feedback that was heard.

For the past five years, grassroots farmers and ranchers have battled against the implementation of NAIS, which they say, was created by industrial livestock and meatpacking interests to shift the burden of animal disease and food safety onto the backs of family farmers instead of corporate agribusinesses.

"The decision to scrap this program is a direct result of grassroots opposition by producers and concerned consumers across the country," said Rhonda Perry, program director of Missouri Rural Crisis Center, and a livestock and grain farmer from Howard County, MO. "MRCC livestock producer members along with thousands of producers across the country voiced stringent opposition to this unwanted and unnecessary program and their voices were heard."

More than 300 livestock producers and concerned consumers attended the NAIS Listening Session in Jefferson City on June 9, 2009. Fifty-five Missouri citizens testified with 54 in opposition to NAIS and only one in support. According to a news release from the USDA, the vast majority of participants were highly critical of the program.

After USDA officials said they would start over in trying to devise a livestock tracking program that would have support from throughout the industry, NAIS opponents were hopeful that independent farmers would be part of the process.

Hoping that many aspects of the new program will be left to the states, Perry said that MRCC and other family farm groups will be diligent in their efforts to ensure that the new program will meet the needs of independent producers and consumers without creating undue burdens on family farmers.

Perry also credited Senator Claire McCaskill with getting a listening session held in Missouri and for expressing concern over the USDA's proposed rule to fully implement NAIS.[8]

Communist Party

Claire McCaskill has been supported by the Communist Party USA.

John Bowman connection

In August and September 2006, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee started sending large sums of money into the Missouri Democratic Campaign Committee’s federal campaign account.

Out of the Missouri Democratic State Committee’s federal campaign account, Bowman’s Consulting received $10,580 on 9/1/06, and then $6,000 on each date of 9/14, 10/02, 10/16, 10/31 and 11/15; and $10,000 on 11/16.

“Bowman’s Consulting” was filed as a business by state Rep. John L. Bowman with the Missouri Secretary of State on April 7. "That is a lot of jack that Bowman raked in to deliver the vote".

Friends of Bowman - including Ingrid Owens, Sammie Jones, Errol Bush, Zach Keys and April Ford-Griffin - were hired for rates considerably higher than the average canvasser. He even kept it in the family, paying daughter Sloan Bowman and son John Bowman, Jr. higher amounts than the average operative.[9]

Blogger and Republican Party activist John Combest wrote that the January 2007 indictment of Black Caucus Chairman John L. Bowman, on fraud charges may affect one of the state rep's recent clients, U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill. [10]

"Just one month ago, the St. Louis American took a look at the McCaskill campaign finance reports. The paper followed the national money through a Missouri Dem fund and noted that 'Bowman’s Consulting' took 'a lot of jack' from the Missouri Democratic State Committee," wrote Combest.

"To Claire, Bowman wasn’t just a workhorse — he was a show horse, too. When she went after Jim Talent on race, she had lots of black faces to choose from — and she chose John Bowman."

According to the Communist Party USA paper, Peoples Weekly World, In 2006 Missouri State Rep. Rep. John L. Bowman (D-70),coordinating the McCaskill campaign for the St. Louis city and county area.[11]

Communists prepare ground

The weekend before the Aug. 8 2006, Missouri primary, about half a dozen St. Louis volunteers from the Communist Party USA went to Kenett, a small southern Missouri “Boot Heel” town, where a historic state representative race was going on. We volunteered to help Pat Allen, who would have been the first African American woman state representative in southern Missouri. She and her opponent, Tom Todd, were campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination in the 163rd District.

The volunteers included Tony Pecinovsky, district staff person for the Communist Party in Missouri and Kansas.and Jocelyn Cochran-Biggs, a member of the Missouri/Kansas Peoples Weekly World bureau. Pat Allen's campaign co-ordinator was Communist Party USA member Margarida Jorge.

Wrote Pecinovsky and Cochran-Biggs;

Though her opponent won the primary, the campaign was an important learning experience and in many ways a victory.
That a progressive African American woman ran at all in southern Missouri, where sexism and racism are very real, signifies a significant shift in the political balance of forces.

Allen’s campaign also laid the groundwork for future base-building and mobilization, including in the Claire McCaskill campaign for U.S. Senate. McCaskill, who is in a neck-to-neck race with right-wing Republican Jim Talent, may be able to pick up some extra votes in southern Missouri, Talent’s strongest base, which would be a real victory for the fight against racism and sexism, as well as for rural voters.[12]

Communist Party support

In the 2006 election, Claire McCaskill tried to woo rural support against her Republican opponent Jim Talent.

According to the Communist Party USA paper Peoples Weekly World:[13]

McCaskill is challenging conventional wisdom though, spending more time in rural areas than ever before. While working the traditional Democratic base, her connection with rural voters is forcing Talent to spend time and money on what was once thought of as solid Republican turf.

Communist Party USA affiliate John L. Bowman co-ordinated the McCaskill campaign.

Is McCaskill’s strategy working? According to Missouri state Rep. John Bowman (D-70), who is coordinating the McCaskill campaign for the St. Louis city and county area, the answer is yes. He told the World, “We are running one helluva ground campaign. So far it has been planned out and executed very well, even in rural areas.” He added, “That Talent, the incumbent, isn’t ahead in the polls is uniquely strange. Missouri voters are ready for a change.”
Reaching out to rural voters hasn’t changed McCaskill’s stance on key issues, though. She is a strong supporter of raising the minimum wage (Proposition B), authorizing stem cell research (Amendment 2) and changing the administration’s course in Iraq. Prop. B is supported by more than 70 percent of Missourians, while Amendment 2 is supported by over 60 percent. These two ballot initiatives are expected to help McCaskill gain at least 3 percentage points on Talent.

The McCaskill campaign also received support from state-level races. For example, state Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford, another Communist Party USA affiliate, told the Peoples Weekly World, “Higher turnout in the Jane Bageto (D-94) and the Bob Burns (D-85) races, which are strong Republican areas, will help the McCaskill vote in those areas as well.”

Missouri Progressive Vote targeted state representative races in the Jefferson County area, about 45 minutes outside of St. Louis, with the hopes of solidifying Missouri House candidates Mike Frame (D-105) and Sam Komo (D-90), both card-carrying union members, and increasing the McCaskill turnout in those areas.

According to Pro-Vote organizer, Communist Party USA member Glenn Burleigh, “These are tough races in areas where choice, LGBT rights and guns can make or break a campaign. We are working to turn the tide against the right wing, but a lot more work needs to be done.”

Increased voter registration is also a big part of the statewide turnout strategy. ACORN and Pro-Vote have collectively registered nearly 40,000 new voters in St. Louis and expect a higher than usual turnout in November.

About St. Louis, Bowman said, “We are knocking on almost 5,000 doors a day, passing out ‘Claire facts’ and talking to voters about the minimum wage and stem cell initiatives. We’re pushing for a big turnout.”
With just a few weeks left before the elections, Missouri’s progressive forces are united in their efforts to beat back the right wing, make gains for working-class families and send a clear message to President Bush.

ACORN help

With 300 subsidiaries and access to SEIU/PROVOTE/AFCSME and others, the result is ACORN, (then run in Missouri by Glenn Burleigh) the political branch feeds off funds the government gives their charity arms.

A perfect example is the 2006 minimum wage battle in Missouri. SEIU, led by Sara Howard, helped fund the measure, and used ACORN to man the petition drives. Those petition drives were then combined with Project Victory 2006, the McCaskill GOV operation. The money was for minimum wage, but the result was voter registration and direct pleas to help McCaskill.[14]

"We made history"

“We made history,” state Rep. John L. Bowman told the Communist Party USA paper Peoples Weekly World shortly after Claire McCaskill announced she had defeated "right-wing" Republican incumbent Jim Talent in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race.

“We’ve sent a clear message: ‘Enough is enough! It is time for a change!’“ Bowman said.

Grassroots mobilization and door-to-door voter turnout was key. For example, Jobs with Justice, a member of the Give Missourians a Raise Coalition, spent Election Day “knocking and dragging” voters to the polls.[15]

2012 CLW Senate victories

2012 CLW Senate Victories were;

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Chris Murphy (D-CT) Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).[16]

According to the Council for a Livable World website;

On the last Council for a Livable World voting scorecard, Sen. McCaskill earned a perfect 100% and was a vocal advocate for ratification of New START, the strategic arms reduction treaty.

ARA endorsement, 2014

The Alliance for Retired Americans Political Action Fund endorsed Claire McCaskill in 2012.[17]


Ferguson, Mo., Aug. 25 2014— Many thousands of people, the majority of them standing outside the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, gathered here in solidarity today to comfort the family of Michael Brown, who was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer on Aug. 9.

Brown’s mother and father, Lesley McSpadden and Michael Brown Sr., were accompanied by notable public figures, including Spike Lee, Wesley Snipes, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rev. Al Sharpton, Sen. Claire McCaskill and Rep. Maxine Waters. Sharpton delivered the eulogy.[18]

Cuba visit

Second from left Claire McCaskill, Amy Klobuchar, Sarah Stephens, in Cuba
Warner address Cuban press conference, Klobuchar and McCaskill look on
Klobuchar, McCaskill, Warner at press conference

In mid February 2015, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), travelled to Cuba, for four days.[19]

They traveled with Sara Stephens of the Center for Democracy in the Americas.

Democratic senators visiting Havana called for a bipartisan effort in the US Congress to lift the decades-old embargo against communist Cuba.

The three senators spoke to reporters after talks on the island with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez and Josefina Vidal, Cuba's chief negotiator in talks with the US aimed at normalizing relations.

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill said the potential economic benefits to US businesses and farmers could have an influence on lawmakers.

She said the people in her state most interested in doing business with Cuba are mostly Republicans, not Democrats.

"This is the business an agricultural communities that might have the most influence on helping us to make this bi-partisan effort more successful," McCaskill said.[20]

Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015

S 299, the Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015, principal sponsors are Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.[21]

By May 20, it had accumulated 33 co-sponsors, including 26 Democrats - Sheldon Whitehouse, Tom Udall, Dick Durbin, Thomas Carper, Amy Klobuchar, Barbara Boxer, Jack Reed, Debbie Stabenow, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, Benjamin Cardin, Chris Coons, Dianne Feinstein, Jeanne Shaheen, Sherrod Brown, Mazie Hirono, Brian Schatz, Tammy Baldwin, Ed Markey, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill, Ron Wyden, Tim Kaine, Al Franken, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Martin Heinrich . [22]

Black vote

In Missouri, 2018, Emanuel Cleaver and other prominent African-Americans, including Senator Cory Booker, are campaigning alongside Claire McCaskill, a white Democratic senator seeking re-election. Some black leaders in the state had criticized McCaskill earlier this year, saying she was giving short shrift to African-American voters while focusing mostly on white, rural voters.

Since then, she has opened field offices in Kansas City and in Ferguson, the predominantly African-American city near St. Louis that in 2014 erupted in protests over a white police officer’s fatal shooting of a black man.

“Claire isn’t taking a single vote for granted,” said McCaskill campaign spokeswoman Meira Bernstein.[23]


  • In 2006, Megan Hull donated $2,100 to McCaskill's campaign for U.S. Senate.[24]


The following have worked as staff members for Claire McCaskill:[25]

External links


  1. official US Senate bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  2. official US Senate bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  3. official US Senate bio, accessed August 16, 2011
  4. [ St Louis American, Obama ‘within reach’ as historic nomination near Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2008 12:00 am By Alvin A. Reid Of the St. Louis American]
  5. [1]
  6. ARA,Alliance Retirees Meet with Members of Congress, Sebelius
  7. DELTA Farm Press, Cattle ID system cost too high? David Bennett | Apr 20, 2009
  8. Joplin Independent, MRCC wins war against proposed animal labeling FEBRUARY 08, 2010
  9. St. Louis American, Bowman in the bucks, December 27, 2006
  10. Bowman & McCaskill, By Antonio D. French PubDefnet, January 30, 2007
  11. Missourians shifting away from GOP, PWW, Tony Pecinovsky, : Oct. 21, 2006
  12. A learning experience for progressive politics, PWW by: Jocelyn Cochran-Biggs and Tony Pecinovsky October 6 2006
  13. Missourians shifting away from GOP, PWW, Tony Pecinovsky, : Oct. 21, 2006
  14. state, 09/17/2009 Missouri ACORN Claims Acorn Isn't In Missouri
  15. As Ohio goes, so goes the nation, PWW, Nov. 11, 2006
  16. Meet the Candidates, accessed April 10, 2013
  17. PAF
  18. Outside the funeral, conversations about racist brutality By John Parker on August 26, 2014
  19. Why Sen. Klobuchar felt like a celebrity on Cuba tripBy Colby Itkowitz February 17
  20. Yahoo News, In Cuba, US senators urge bipartisan end to embargo AFP February 17, 2015
  21. [, Cuba travel bill advances in the Senate by: Emile Schepers May 20 2015]
  22. [%22S+299%22}, Congress.Gov. S.299 - Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015114th Congress (2015-2016) | G]
  23. [2]
  24. Center for Responsive Politics,, Megan Hull contributions
  25. Legistorm: Claire McCaskill (accessed on Aug. 24, 2011)