Missouri’s House Majority Leader is the frontrunner to replace House Speaker Rob Vescovo, when the Arnold Republican terms out of the chamber in December 2022.
House Majority Leader Dean Plocher (R-Des Peres) has formally announced that he’s running for Speaker, and tells Missourinet that his top priority would be to promote caucus-driven legislation.
“It’s fantastic that we (House Republicans) have a majority, but I don’t think it’s up to leadership to dictate to the majority caucus what one individual’s priorities should be; rather, I think the leaders should be a steward for navigating the waters of what the caucus would like to accomplish,” Plocher says.
Republicans currently control the House by a 113-49 margin. That’s a supermajority, with four extra seats. No other candidates have announced a run for Speaker yet.
Plocher was elected to the Missouri House during a 2015 special election and was re-elected in 2016, 2018, and 2020. He can run for one more two-year term in 2022. His district includes Des Peres, Kirkwood, Chesterfield, and Crystal Lake Park.
Leader Plocher is focusing on defending the Constitution and on building a more prosperous economy for all Missourians, along with workforce development. He wants to ensure the participation of all caucus members.
“I’m a Republican, I’m conservative and I want to make sure that those Republicans that I’m serving with aren’t just following what I might say would be the priority, but that they all have skin in the game and are participating in the priorities of the body as a whole,” says Plocher.
He says leadership is instrumental in guiding legislation that is the work product of the GOP caucus.
Plocher says the 2021 session was successful, citing the passage of historic Wayfair legislation, COVID liability, and several other bills.
State Rep. J. Eggleston (R-Maysville) sponsored the Wayfair legislation, which allows a sales tax on out-of-state purchases. Governor Parson called for its passage during his January State of the State Address, citing the unfair advantage that online retailers have over Missouri small businesses.
During a recent interview with Missourinet, Leader Plocher also addressed bills that did not pass. He says there could be a special session at any point on the federal reimbursement allowance (FRA), which is a key funding mechanism for the state’s Medicaid program. He believes a special session would take place later this summer and says some would also like to see the governor call a special session on eminent domain and biodiesel legislation.
“There’s also been a request of the governor to ask for a special session for some agricultural components that weren’t able to be put into place through this legislative session as well,” Plocher says.
The eminent domain issue is a top priority for State Sen. Jason Bean (R-Holcomb), who’s critical of the Grain Belt project in northern Missouri. Bean filed legislation this year which said that the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) could not approve a merchant line, until county commissioners in each county through which the line will be built pass a resolution supporting the project.
The PSC has approved Grain Belt’s request to build, own and manage a high-voltage transmission line across eight northern Missouri counties. Those counties are Buchanan, Clinton, Caldwell, Carroll, Chariton, Randolph, Monroe, and Ralls.
Invenergy opposed Senator Bean’s bill, saying the Grain Belt project would deliver millions of dollars in annual energy savings for 39 Missouri towns and would improve electric reliability to help avoid future emergency outages.
The Missouri Farm Bureau, the state’s largest general farm organization, supports Bean’s legislation. Farm Bureau says using eminent domain for this project sets a dangerous precedent and “makes it easier for our state to become the transmission superhighway for the Green New Deal.”
As for current Speaker Vescovo, he still will be the House Speaker for the September veto session and any special sessions this year, as well as during all of 2022.
The new speaker will take the gavel in Jefferson City in January 2023.
Click here to listen to the full interview between Missourinet’s Brian Hauswirth and House Majority Leader Dean Plocher (R-Des Peres), which was recorded on May 21, 2021:
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