Democrats might be in the distinct minority in the Missouri legislature next year but they say they’re not shut out of the process. They have gained two seats in the state senate but they’re still outnumbered 24-10.  They lost ground in the House and will go into the 2013 session with their smallest numbers since the House went to 163 members.

The Senate Minority Leader will be Jolie Justus, a Kansas City lawyer who actually will represent six central Missouri counties because of legislative redistricting–Callaway, Audrain, Monroe, Montgomery, Lincoln, and Warren. 

The numbers mean Republicans could override a Nixon veto without any help from Democrats.  But Justus says that doesn’t mean they will.  “The question will be whether there are issues that the majority of people want to override…Sometimes you can get overrides on party line votes and sometimes you can’t.”

All of the Democratic senators live in the St. Louis and Kansas City areas.  She says the caucus might not be as diverse as it has been in the past when some rural areas were Democratic. 

Justus agrees with Republicans who say job creation and economic development are among top priorities for ’13 although the two parties might have different approaches.  But she says she has had a good working relationship with incoming Senate leader Tom Dempsey.

AUDIO: Justus news conference 16:49