House Speaker Pro Tem Carl Bearden (R-St. Charles) is stepping down before term limits force him out of the House.
Bearden will join the lobbying firm Pelopidas created by Travis Brown and his wife, Rachel Keller Brown. Both Browns have individual lobbying companies that they will retain.
Bearden came into the House in 2000, two years before Republicans took control of the chamber. He counts Republican takeover of the House as one of the highlights of his legislative career. Bearden climbed up the leadership ladder quickly. He took center stage in deep budget cuts in 2002 as chairman of the House Budget Committee. Bearden refused then-Governor Holden’s request to tap the Rainy Day Fund to prop up a budget weighed down by the recession which followed in wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Bearden was elected Speaker Pro Tem in 2005 and used the position to argue in favor of cuts to Medicaid, which Republicans defended as necessary to save the state budget. Democrats harshly criticized those cuts as overreaching and harmful to recipients who would no longer have health care. The cuts threw 90,000 recipients off Medicaid.
Bearden says the tough decisions made then helped turn the tide and put Missouri on firm financial footing. Bearden says much of the rhetoric from Democrats who criticize Republican budget cuts is aimed at the 2008 elections, not at what is good health care policy for Missouri.