State Representative Mark Abel of Festus enters the upcoming legislative session as the new Minority Leader, the first Democrat to assume that role in 48 years. Abel had hope to move from House Speaker Pro Tem, which he was last session, to Speaker of the House. But Republicans won big in the November elections and took control of the House from Democrats. Abel says he saw the shift developing just prior to election day. Abel says he has two big tasks: help 34 new Democrats get their legislative careers started and keep veteran Democrats from giving up as they deal with the loss of power. He says House Democrats will push their own agenda, which he plans to release soon.
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