Dexter Senator Rob Mayer, who was nominated to be Seante President pro tem in a split Republican caucus has beenelecsted to the job by a unanimous senate.  Mayor and Farmington senator Kevin Engler tied in the caucus voting in November. Mayer won the nomination through the luck of a draw of lots.

All 26 Democrats were joined by the seven remaining Democrats in the floor vote to make him the body’s top officer.  One seat is vacant because of the resignation last week of Senator Yvonne Wilson (D-Kansas City).  

In his opening remarks of the 96th General Assembly, Mayer advocated putting “people back to work in good payhing jobs with benefits.”  To do that, he said, “We will pass a bill capping the Corporate Franchise tax.  We will pass a bill restoring balance to the Msisouri Human Rights act and Whistleblower provisions.  We will pass a bill reversing judicial activism in the Worker’s Compensation Ssytem. And we will pass a bill making Missouri a Right to Work state.”  

The last point is expected to generate furious oppositon from Senate Democrats who say Mayer’s justification for the action is weak and in some cases, inaccurate.

Mayer says the state’s “best economic develpment tool is an educated workforce.”  He promises that K-12 public school funding will be at the “same level as last year.”    Last year’s budget, hoever, contained $105 million dollars less than the promised amount in the school funding formula.

He also is renewing last year’s “Rebooting Missouri” effort to create a smaller and more efficient governemnt.   Last year the senate broke into work groups and considered hundreds of ideas submitted by state employees and voters, developed a series of recommendations and passed bills based on some of them.  Mayer hopes for the same process this year.  The Seante work groups are to make their recommendaitons on the 19th.

Twelve new Seantors were among the 17 Senators sworn in for four-year terms today.  Seven new members joined the Senate in 2009, meaning more than one-half of the senate’s 34-member roster has had two years or fewer experience in the chamber.  

 Listen to Mayer’s speech 15:01 mp3