Governor Mike Parson, R, has appointed a veteran state lawmaker to Missouri’s Labor and Industrial Relations Commission, which oversees the state Labor Department.

State Rep. Robert Cornejo (R-St. Peters) speaks on the Missouri House floor in April 2017 (file photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at House Communications)

Robert Cornejo served in the Missouri House for six years, until he resigned at 11:59 Tuesday night. The St. Peters Republican praises his predecessor, John Larsen, and the other two commissioners for reducing a backlog in workers compensation and unemployment cases.

“Looking to attack that backlog even more and getting quick responses so people can move forward with their lives,” Cornejo says.

Since this is an interim appointment, Cornejo can begin serving immediately. However, he will have to be confirmed by the Missouri Senate for his role to become official, either during the September veto session or in January when the 2019 session starts.

He will serve on the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission with fellow commissioners Reid Forrester and Curtis Chick. Forrester is the employer representative, and Chick is the employee representative.

Governor Parson has designated Cornejo as the Commission chairman.

Cornejo was first elected to the House in 2012 and served six years. He chaired the powerful House General Laws Committee.

He says he’s most proud of being the House sponsor of Senate Bill 5, which was bipartisan legislation involving municipal court reform after Ferguson.

“Found out that some of these municipalities were treating citizens of the state of Missouri kind of like ATM’s and using speed traps to try to get some money to fund bloated government,” says Cornejo.

Then-Governor Jay Nixon, D, signed that bill into law in 2015.

Cornejo tells Missourinet his biggest disappointment in the House was losing the Speaker race last year to State Rep. Elijah Haahr. Cornejo says the Springfield Republican was among the first to text him Wednesday with congratulations.

“I not only went to law school (University of Missouri-School of Law) with Elijah but graduated law school with him as well (in 2008) so I’ve known Elijah well before I was even a state rep. and still consider him a friend,” Cornejo says.

Cornejo says the Speaker’s race was “honest, fair and open” and that he accepted the caucus’ decision.

Robert Cornejo grew up poor in Florissant, and graduated from Hazelwood Central High School in 2001. He earned a scholarship to Washington University in St. Louis, where he graduated with a degree in political science and a second major in international business.

Cornejo tells Missourinet he will have to close his law firm due to the appointment.


Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and Robert Cornejo, which was recorded on August 22, 2018:

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