House Republicans change things up a bit, electing a new Speaker for the term that begins after the November 2008 elections.
House Speaker Rod Jetton (R-Marble Hill) has announced that the House Republican Caucus has elected Rep. Ron Richard (R-Joplin) as Speaker-designate, a new post. The political party that holds the majority normally chooses its leader after the elections, but Speaker Jetton pushed for early elections to give Rep. Richard a year to better understand the job. Jetton says that his term as Speaker Pro Tem didn’t adequately prepare him for the role as Speaker.
Richard has been House Economic Development Committee Chairman. He worked hard to craft an economic development package that could clear the special session and be signed by Governor Blunt. He says, as Speaker, he understands his interests must broaden.
The House Republican Caucus has also elected Rep. Bryan Pratt of Blue Springs as Speaker Pro-Tem and Rep. Steven Tilley of Perryville as Majority Floor Leader.